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  1. 4 points
    It was a beautiful day in Elwynn Forest. The birds were chirping, the cows were mooing as they wandered about unfettered... and the sewer crocodiles that had escaped to the sewage pond outside of Stormwind dragged a particularly careless one to its untimely death. At one of the local farmsteads, a seasonal worker was getting fired. Amidst the relative tranquility and the goings on of the kingdom's residents, a newcomer marched with purpose down the road. With eyes that gleamed with ferocity, upturned nose held high, and scales that shined in the sun, a brown spotted colored Sethrak moved towards the city's gates with purpose! Only to come face to face with a patrol of mounted riders, tasked with protecting the kingdom from the Horde and other threats who had, as of late, invaded and sowed chaos at an unacceptable rate. "HALT, SNAKE!" The patrol's captain motioned for his soldiers to stop, and halfway surround them, "You will go no further!" "HOW DARE!" The Sethrak yelled back, its neck instinctively flattening to make the back of its head and neck wider... presumably to look fierce, "Hoomans go away! I has messij for king!" There was an awkward moment of silence as the captain was... in essence dumbstruck with how spoken words could somehow be misspelled, but he pushed the befuddlement aside, "Stand down and surrender, and you will not b-" "GO 'WAY HOOMAN! AM DANGRUS!" The Sethrak huffed and puffed breaths in, and began to hiss, "EMPIRE DEMANZ SURR-ENDR!" "...um, sir?" One of the rookie patrolman spoke up after another few moments of awkward, befuddled silence, "What is it doing?" "How am I supposed to know? You and you, get off your horses and arrest it." The captain pointed to the rookie and one other guard, who looked at each other, shrugged, and dismounted. "NO TUCH!" The Sethrak hissed louder, tensing a puffing up even more, "I BITE!" The rookie and his partner, despite being faced with this... weird unknown, couldn't help but snort as a laugh escaped them. Undeterred, they began to approach, which caused the Sethrak to become even more defensive, coiling back into a defensive posture until!... ...it collapsed to the ground in a hissing, writhing heap. "What in the... Sir?!" One of the still mounted guards looked alarmed, concerned, but ultimately confounded as she watched the snake man flail about in the dirt in what looked to be a horribly acted death-throe. The guards backed up their horses, but otherwise all stayed where they were, as for the next minute or so the snake person kept on its death act, until finally laying still in a contorted pose... mouth agape, and forked tongue lolling off to the side. "I've had enough of this. Get that damn thing to the stockades and make SI:7 deal with it." The captain annoyedly ordered, turning his steed around back to the city gates, and motioning for the other mounted guards to follow. "You heard 'im." One of the dismounted guards went over, grabbing the Sethrak by its robe collar to try and force it to stand up, but finding it floppy and limp, though not in an actually dead way. Starting to get irritated, he tried to force it to turn over, only to express further frustration as it flipped back belly up, and did it again when he tried to right it once again. "For the love of the light, just throw it over your horse and let's go." "arrrggghh.... no tuch!" The Sethrak quietly hissed and muttered, oofing as it did get thrown over the back of one of the patrol horses, to be carted away into the city's gates, oggled at by the city's denizens, and then locked up to be attended to later.
  2. 3 points
    The constant pounding filled her ears. Julilee lifted her head as the wind rose for a moment, letting it catch the loose strands of pale hair around her face. Beneath her feet, the coarse sand shifted, cut into strange shapes and angles. It was dyed orange and red in the early morning light, and she turned her head to look behind her briefly at the rising sun. The sky, also red and orange and pink, was always a welcome sight, even after having been back aboveground this long. Then she turned her attention back to what lay before her. The pounding was the combination of the screaming, stomping audience and drums. The sands were the floor of the arena and weren't just red from the sunrise, but from dried blood, and were grooved not by the elements but by battles. The sun was rising over the bleachers and the match was about to begin. She drew Mercy. The sword gave away her identity to those who recognized its jagged silhouette, but that turned out to be vanishingly few. So far, she could count them on one hand. Memories were short in war. The white mask that covered the lower half of her face did enough to disguise her identity otherwise, along with the absence of any of the other features that had once marked her identity, such as her once-dark hair, former purple armor, and tabard. Mostly the tabard. That had been the majority of what people had ever seen when they looked at her anyway. To be fair, she was the one who had redesigned it and raised its banner once more. "Juriel! Juriel!" Now she let her image become whatever it may. The gate across the arena opened with slow, menacing clanks that were nearly drowned out as the crowd rose in volume commensurately. Juli stood waiting, the tip of Mercy pointed at the sand. She held it in one hand and nothing in the other. Carrying a shield would only burden her now. The creature that came out was not one of the largest she had faced. The mad brutosaur had been that, and it had cemented her as the preeminent fighter in this arena circuit. But it was one she had never fought before. It slunk out, wary of the noisy crowd and bright, open space, but soon focused on Juli. And then it was followed by another. Two adversaries. The crowd, thrilled by this twist, became all but deafening. The creatures' blue-gray bodies were lined from nose to tail-tip in spikes, and long tusks protruded from their mouths. Their forequarters were heavily muscled for digging, pouncing, and shredding, but their lean bodies were built for speed nonetheless. Lean, but at least twice her size in weight and mass each. Sabertusks. Julilee was given pause as she studied them, knowing that Zandalari druids took on the same form, but in a few moments it became apparent that there was no hint of sentience in these beasts. They circled her warily, moving instinctively as a pack to take down the first edible thing they had seen in days. Juli continued standing still, only turning her head slightly as one circled behind her. When it thought it had the advantage, it pounced. She heard the crunch of sand and moved as it did. She threw herself into a backwards roll that was diagonal to the beast's trajectory. Tucked low to the ground, her relatively small size played to her advantage as she passed underneath the beast. As she rolled, she whipped her blade up and across its belly. There wasn't enough clearance to get the strength behind the thrust to disembowel the thing, but bright red blood spattered over her white, gold, and dark gray armor. The beast shrieked. As it landed and whipped around with shocking speed to lunge for her, paws as massive as her head with claws that long again coming at her face, she was only just pushing herself into a crouch on the sand. There simply wasn't enough time to dodge again. Her empty arm came up to block. It would have done absolutely nothing to save her if not for the Light that blazed into existence around it. The crowd roared in vicious delight as the large beast collided with the shining barrier, its sheer mass pushing her back a dozen meters and leaving a deep furrow in the sand, but she kept her feet under her. After the beast jumped away to seek a new opening, the creature not yet slowed by the shallow gash that bled fresh red onto the sands, she rose unharmed and allowed the shield to dissipate. The other beast, more cautious than its partner, did not yet make a move, only prowling along the side of the clash. The horn on its nose was broken, it was a darker blue-gray, and it was slightly smaller, though not by much. As Juli watched them stalk her, she wondered what had brought them to the attention of the arena organizers. Had they preyed on townspeople? Ravaged local livestock? Or had it just been the appeal of a matched pair? "Juriel! Juriel!" The crowd was insistent. It wanted blood, hers or the beasts', it didn't care. She had learned it thrilled to either, though this had not really come as a surprise. As much as they had loved her rise to underground fame, it would love her downfall just as much. She had seen the betting odds and knew many had no qualms about betting on the latter every match, if not more and more eagerly with every victory. She made good money off those bets. The sabertusks were too fast for her to try to take the offensive. Unlike the brutosaur, they could turn on a dime and rend with those deadly claws as fast as she could blink. If she gave them the slightest opening, they would seize it, and her by the throat. She would have to wait for them to come to her to try to find an opening, and the crowd communicated its disapproval of her patience as she continued to let the beasts circle her, though this time she slowly turned to keep them in sight as much as possible. Trying to urge action, the drum players increased the tempo. It was effective on everyone but those battling in the arena. The crowd grew more frenzied; someone threw a rock that landed with a thud in the sand not far from Juli. From somewhere, she could hear Tetsujin hollering directions at her. She didn't take her eyes off the beasts, nor they theirs off her. The two beasts started to circle closer. She knew the moment they decided to attack. This time, the sabertusks moved together.
  3. 2 points
    Hey all, I did a fairly major upgrade to the site this morning. One of things you might want to do is update your bookmarks so they link to https:// instead of http://. The site will auto-redirect you, but it might save you a fraction of a second in loading the site if you change your bookmark. The site should run a bit faster now, and I've got some options for speeding it up more that I might test. The forum software that this site runs on, https://invisioncommunity.com/ is leased for a fee every 6 months. The next renewal day is in late May. The one after that is in November. I will likely be going with a newer, cheaper forum option in November. Why? You might ask? Because Invision forums are like sports cars, and TNG is being used by grandma to drive herself to church and back home once or twice a week. The lease renewal fee is pretty reasonable for a sports car, but more than I want to pay for only a few posts per week level of activity. This isn't a cry for money, by the way. It's just a recognition that, while TN RP isn't completely dead, what RP that is happening has mostly moved to Discord. This isn't a TN specific probably either. I've checked around and where I used to find a few other servers that had something similar, I can't find anything anymore. But Discord servers? They are everywhere. And the truth of the matter is it's a better interactive medium than forums are. But forums are still better for permanence and stability. The purpose of this site was always to preserve the fanfiction of RPers on the Twisting Nether server (and later for Ravenholdt too!). That isn't going away. Things the *might* be going away: the front "news" page, private messages, old discussion posts, leaderboards, clubs, and profile public messages. But November would be the earliest that that would happen. Hey, who knows, maybe they'll merge TN with another RP server and life here will get crazy again and make that sports car lease worthwhile. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns or if you find a bug with the new version of the forum. --Mortica
  4. 2 points
    Julilee dropped into a crouch, thrusting her empty hand toward the larger beast. The force of her will focused the Light into a stunning cascade that fell onto the creature, knocked it off course, and stunned it for valuable seconds. At the same time, her sword came up in a thrust at the smaller beast as it pounced from her other side. It twisted to avoid the blade and Juli tried to lunge in the complementary direction, but one of its paws still struck the back of her shoulder, and she was knocked to the sand. She immediately rolled onto her back, bringing Mercy in between her and her foe, but the animal did not truly respect the blade, perceiving it as an impediment more than anything, and pounced heedlessly. Catching its claws with the sword earned a reprieve barely in name as the thing's sheer weight pinned the weapon across her body, only held away by the width of the blade. The outer edge of Mercy digging into her armor was the least of her concerns as the sabertusk bent down, fangs snapping toward her neck, while leaning further onto its front paws, ready to start ripping and shredding. Death stared her in the face, but she had seen worse. Jagged golden lines burst into illumination down Mercy's hilt, crossguard, and blade, and in one motion Julilee heaved the large beast off her in a feat of strength beyond what even her well-developed athletic abilities could do alone. The beast hissed in pain and the smell of burning filled the air as it backed away, while she rose to her feet again, gripping Mercy with both hands. Light wreathed her weapon and forearms. The crowd was cheering loudly now. While the larger beast had recovered, it similarly backed away with newfound respect for its prey. The two seemed to visibly reconsider. "Shoo," she said to them. "Ya gotta kill 'em, Juli!" Tetsujin yelled down from the bleachers nearest to her. Though he couldn't have heard her, and she hadn't gestured at all, he knew her well enough to know what would make her hesitate. Despite her presence in the arena, she barely had the stomach to participate in any of this to begin with, much less when the beasts didn't even want to fight. At least, when she thought about it, which she couldn't help but do as the beasts stared at her uncertainly. Then the trappings of an ethical quandary were, at least ostensibly, shattered as more rocks began to fall. This time they were aimed at the sabertusks, and a few hit. The smaller one snarled up at the audience and turned to look at Juli again. Its rising aggression chose the only target available, and it lunged across the sands for her again, the larger one right behind. This time she didn't try to dodge; she lunged forward instead, Mercy leaving trailing ribbons of Light as she swung it, two-handed, down at the oncoming beast. It ducked its head as they met so she only scored across its back, but its true strategy quickly became apparent as it tossed its head in the next moment, scooping her up with its tusks and sending her flying. The crowds shrieked. The second beast was there to catch her. It leapt and its jaws closed around her arm, nearly dislocating her shoulder as she landed heavily. But it wasn't her main sword arm, her sword was free, and its neck was exposed. Pulling against its grip to keep it occupied, she brought Mercy across and opened its throat with one clean slice. A river of red joined the spatters on her armor. The thing gurgled, jerked away, and fell. Pain raked down her legs. The smaller beast had pounced her again and its wicked claws, finally put to full use, pierced the metal of her armor like a tin can. Juli gritted her teeth and tried to kick at it unsuccessfully. It seized her leg in its mouth and started dragging her. Juli swung Mercy but it flinched away without relinquishing its grip, and placed a giant paw on her side, ready to try to tear her apart by brute force. It probably had the strength to do so. She didn't want to use any more Light, but she had to. She closed her eyes. A brilliant flash directly beside its head blinded and disconcerted the beast, making it drop her leg and flinch away. Juli opened her eyes and swung Mercy to cut deeply into its front leg. With a snarl it snapped at the blade and achieved a grip on it that almost took it out of Juli's hands, but not quite. Instead she let the beast's strength pull her toward it and help her plant an armored boot in its jaw. There was an audible crack as a tooth snapped, and she jerked Mercy free, then thrust its point into the beast's chest as it reared. She must have found its heart as it collapsed on her immediately. "Juriel! Juriel!" It took some effort to shove the beast's heavy body off and rise to her feet, bleeding, but she did. She closed her eyes again as she listened to the crowd's chanting. She wanted it to feel exciting, glorious, or even at least satisfying to have triumphed once more and be standing under the weight of the crowd's adulation, but instead, it didn't feel like anything. All she could feel was that the reservoir of Light inside of her was lower than before. Tetsujin jumped down to the sounds next to her. She knew it was him without looking. "Good job, Juli," her manager said. He chuckled. "Hope ya ain't too mad at me for the surprise, but I knew ya could handle it." "Yeah," she said, after a moment, opening her eyes again. Her gaze fell on the two downed beasts. Arena organizers were coming to drag the bodies away. "I can handle anything." She turned to walk away, back toward the backstage area. "Hey!" Tetsujin called after her. "Don't sound so happy about it!" "I'm going to go meditate," she replied without turning. "Make sure no one bothers me, please." "Ya and yer meditation," he said without bitterness. She could barely hear him over the crowd as she walked away. "Should celebrate more, what's the point if ya don't enjoy it!" Wasn't that the question. He would be enjoying his portion of the proceeds from today's fight quite thoroughly later tonight. Juli looked down at her red-streaked armor and weapon. If she'd still worn a tabard, it would have been soaked and shredded. With nothing to fight for now, she found herself fighting anyway. "Because I'll never give up," she said, her voice not nearly loud enough to carry back to him over the crowd. He didn't seem to be expecting a response and didn't miss one, busying himself talking to the arena organizers. She left the roaring arena and went to be alone.
  5. 2 points
    "They're animals! Scare them!" Tetsujin tried to yell at her. He'd learned a long time ago that she ignored most of his directions, but that didn't stop him from trying. Lately, she couldn't even hear him over the crowd - or at least that was her excuse. "Hit that belly spot again, it's already bleeding! Don't give it time to heal! Smash it in the head or something!" He could barely hear himself yelling over the sound of the crowd. When the drums got faster, Tetsujin turned his deafened shouting at them in frustration. "SHUT UP!"
  6. 2 points
    They emerged onto a large balcony. It jutted over the edge of the tier and had a view of a section of the city, as well as the jungle-covered inclines that lay beyond. Further out, the jungle appeared to melt into swamplands. Pterodons wheeled overhead, and the sounds of the city drifted upward. Kex'ti stepped up to the railing and wrapped his grip around it. Juli looked at his hands, seeing the finger he was still missing, and the ring he still wore. "Are you happier here?" she asked, remaining behind and to the side of him. He didn't answer the question, because since when did he answer any question that made him slightly uncomfortable. Instead he tried to find the words to speak of what preoccupied him the most about her reappearance, in his meandering way. "Last I heard, you had been lost in Silithus. And it was not someone from Sanctuary that told me this, but... I am tremendously relieved that you are alive, and were not lost to that cursed place." He grimaced. "I'm sorry if you were worried," Juli said. "It wasn't intentional." "What do you want from me, Juli?" he asked simply. He turned and scrutinized her. She didn't know what he was looking for. Any sign of the taint of the Void? She knew he feared that above anything else. Any hint of the woman he had loved, and who had loved him? She knew it wasn't there in her eyes anymore, whatever he had once seen, though it could very well have as much to do with the knowledge in his gaze as the knowledge in hers. The time they had spent apart had been instructive to them both. If you set someone free and they don't return, that means you were only holding them back. "I wanted to say I'm sorry I never loved you as much as you loved me," she said. He was floored. All he could say was, "What happened to you?" She moved up to the railing beside him and folded her arms on it, looking out but not really seeing anything. Her mind went back to the moment everything changed. The six months that followed had changed her too, but not as much as that moment had. "I came face-to-face with the Void, and it... made me see things differently. I was almost lost to it, Kex'ti. I'm sorry I never really, fully understood your aversion to it before. In the end I had two choices: the Void or the Light. I chose the Light and survived." At her hip, Mercy glowed softly with its jagged lines of gold energy that were no longer just energy. Now the purified weapon glowed with the Light, and so did she. It shone in her eyes and flowed through her constantly, an aura she couldn't turn off. The goblin hadn't been wrong. She was a paladin now. Kex'ti's expression softened. He hadn't missed the difference in her. "I am glad you made the right choice." He thought for a moment, then said, "You do not need to apologize. Love is not a matter of magnitude... and I do not even think it is true. We both made errors in our relationship. Am I happier? No. I am not. But I am also less sad, and frustrated." "You're kind to put it that way," she said. "But I think we both know it was my fault it didn't work. I just want you to know I don't blame you." There it was. She had said it, most of it. She had walked straight out of hell and to him because nothing had mattered more than lifting whatever she could of the burden that she had so unfairly placed on him. If she had died down there, her ghost would have been haunted with the knowledge of the guilt she had inflicted on him, unjust and undeserved. Looking at him, she wondered if it helped. He didn't look dumbstruck anymore, just calm. Maybe it would sink in over time. "I appreciate that. I hope things have improved for you since Sanctuary. I do not imagine it has without you." He lifted a hand from the railing and put it back, watching the birds. "Are you happier?" "I only just got back," she said. He didn't know how true that was. "This is the first thing I'm even doing. Next will be Rylie... if I can communicate with her safely." He nodded. "That is a large part of why I am here, so obviously present in the military. So as not to paint a target on her back. Or draw question to my loyalties. It might be advisable you do the same." "I just don't want her to think she's been abandoned," she said quietly. He scowled. "I have tried to get mail to her. I do not know if it has arrived." Changing topics swiftly as he did when he was irked, he said, "What will you do next?" "After trying to get word of my own to her... I'm not sure." He coughed and reached for where he used to keep his medicinal jug at his waist. It was not there. "Ah. I left my medicine back inside. It was... good to see that you are alive. I am sorry for the troubles you have faced." She listened as he prepared to end the visit, to separate himself from her. She watched as he stepped away from the railing, taking a couple steps back toward the guildhall. Every move he made was so familiar to her. Even with his lost weight, every plane of his face was embedded in her memory. Every twist of his mouth, every furrow of his brow, every pitch in his voice, she knew. But it was like watching him through a window. They couldn't reach each other. So it was just as well he didn't want to anymore. He turned away, but then he stopped. Without looking at her, he spoke. "I never stopped loving you, or believing in you. I just couldn't stomach that one decision you made. I am sorry that choice led you to the path you had to walk, but I hope it brings you purpose and peace. For myself, I often wonder if those things exist. But at least for you, if they exist, I believe you'd be the one to find them." And that was why she'd had to come tell him this. Because he would have kept putting up with her, with far more than he should have, if she had not pushed just a little too far. And then she had accused him of not loving her enough. "You did always love me more than I deserved," she murmured. "Maybe," he said. Before he began to move, he remarked, "Do not endanger Rylie because of a guilty conscience." Then he waved his hand and headed inside. Once, that would have been more than sufficient to offend her. It didn't. What he thought of her didn't matter. Whether he was right or wrong to think it didn't matter. She had done all she could here. The rest was out of her hands. She looked once more over the view. It held nothing of interest. She left Warscar Reach's hall. [[ Written in conjunction with Kexti. ]]
  7. 2 points
    She'd also forgotten what pork tasted like. After journeying north into Durotar, she'd killed a boar, then cooked it over a proper fire. While the meat sizzled and browned, she'd stared at it, struggling with a sense of unreality. Dissociation, she told herself. She'd heard the term somewhere, probably in a leadership course or other schooling her privileged upbringing had provided, but like many other things, she hadn't understood it until she experienced it. Pork didn't really taste special. It was just meat. In the fading light of the evening, Juli inventoried her possessions. She carried very little. Her sword, Mercy; her armor, with the padding she wore underneath; and the contents of her pack, which was at this point only a short rope, a knife, a patched waterskin, a well-used sharpening stone, and five gold pieces. If she continued to Orgrimmar, she could access her accounts and purchase anything at all she needed. She could commandeer a mount, sleep in a bed, replace her shield. She thought about it, then laid back on the hard-packed dirt and stared up at the sky until stars began to twinkle into existence. The sight wasn't as reassuring as she had hoped. It wasn't really anything. It was just the night sky, which was to say, more an infinite void than anything else. "I'm alive," she whispered. The void did not answer. That was a welcome change.
  8. 1 point
    All the feels. Thanks for everything, guys! You were the best, nothing but love!
  9. 1 point
    You guys were great, thanks for all the memories and such! Sowell/Dobzhansky
  10. 1 point
    It should be enough. It should be enough just to hate. I shouldn't need reasons. Garithos was the reason I offered whenever a reason was demanded. He was reason enough, too. I shouldn't She doesn't understand. Hate is easy. It is warm and strong. It protects from all manner of harm. I didn't need reasons to hate. We were just predators, preying on the weak, the lesser, those who would grow and learn and die too fast to remember the techniques we could focus on for decades. We didn't need reasons. Yes, they gave us reasons, but we didn't need them. They weren't my friends. I didn't lose anyone close to me. Not to them. The only thing that killed them was the Scourge, and the Scourge was what? A disease of the world? Arthas and Kel'thuzad can take a lot of blame for being weak and lesser, for falling for trap after trap after trap. Dar'khan can take some blame, for being power hungry, a grand failing of our kind, and his sweet little mutant children overrunning Stormwind now are what happen when you open the gates for death. But even though they weren't my friends, I was too close to what happened to them. It changed me. It changed what made me hesitate. I was always more violent than not, and though I was never demanding, I resolved I never would be. I would never be like them. I would never take the way they did. I would only destroy. She doesn't understand. How could she? Who does understand? A wolf without its pack is prey, and I've been without my pack for too long. The Grim stands in for them, but the Grim failed me. I was prey. More than once. I've learned not to rely on them. The Grim feed the hate, but they do not understand it. They don't need to. I shouldn't need to. She shouldn't need to. Hate should be enough, in and of itself. It does not need reasons to exist. It only needs to burn. It only needs to consume everything in its path. That's all it needs. She is an obsession, a dangerous path with no way to turn from it. Even if I try, I'll always find myself back on the same road. And I have given her everything. Of my own free will. Everything. Prey again, without my pack. The other needs to ask better questions. I don't think she wants to ask better questions. I don't think she wants what she says she wants, to do something for me, which is good, because she won't get it, but I'll get what I want, words and questions, the sound of my own voice, amusement at what nothing can cause. Be careful giving words too much power. They don't have any of their own. The cat disagrees, but also puts a point on the possibility that the only power they have is mischief. I need to spend a week in Suramar to remember what we should have been, but Feralas calls. I don't need brothers, but I'm glad of them, nonetheless, if only for the hope they give. Yes, hope. I like that people assume I know nothing but ruthless cruelty. I like knowing I can drive hate so easily. That doesn't mean I know nothing of things outside hatred. What do I know? I know more than those who worship at its feet. I know more than those who wear it on their sleeves and on their banners. I know because I run from it and it hunts me down. I know because I do not want it, do not need it, and yet I have it. Killing me with kindness would be much more difficult than even the ridiculousness of the cliché implies. Boring me with kindness might be manageable. I suppose maybe you could bore me to death with it? But even then, either you're the sort of kind hearted person I either destroy or walk away from, or you're not a kind hearted person and I take the opportunity to dismantle your kindness, find the motive in it, make you regret ever having plied me with it in the first place. Or you're the kind of person who's better at playing my games than I am. There aren't many of those, so I don't fear them though I probably should. The team building silliness at least takes my mind off the menacing truths running deep under everything I do these days. I would definitely prefer to watch from the sidelines, but that's better managed when other people are on the dais than when I am. And if it makes them stronger, then so be it. I'll take my loss of dignity and chalk it up to forging bonds or some other useless lie. That Eye is pointless. It saw the obvious but not the dexterous. You can tell the truth and not tell the truth at the same time, and how can one device detect that nuance? You can tell the truths that don't matter and neglect the ones that do. There is a way to get every truth from me, and it is actually quite simple, but who actually finds that much value in truth?
  11. 1 point
    Daçiana laughed and slapped Xara on the back. "I knew I always liked you for a reason!" Xara grinned and flagged the bartender down for another round. As she and the orc handed their emptied mugs over the bar, Xara leaned back, exhaling. "Yer doin' a fine job keepin' up with me here. Been awhile since someone gave me a run fer my drink." "You should've seen me before," Daçiana said. "Tahz gave me this green stuff from his home and I didn't realize you were supposed to sip it slowly. Apparently not doing so kills most people. I downed the whole thing, and it was the first thing that even made me feel it after about ten other drinks." "That's so wild, that you ended up like that," Xara said. "Inside the body of a demon hunter, but in charge?" "It's been a long, strange journey," Daçiana agreed. She turned to put her back to the counter, accepting the mug the bartender handed her with a nod. "But after ten millennia, I'm finally free again, and that's all that matters." Xara paused infinitesimally before she said, "Ain't it, though?" and laughed again. "So what are you up ta these days?" "Just running around with Gunheya," Daçiana said. "Doing whatever we want. Sometimes helping solve problems. Mostly because he wants to." "Mostly, huh?" Xara said, taking a sip of her drink. "Sometimes I worry about the fate of Azeroth and all that," Daçiana said, waving her hand, "but most of the time I don't. I just want to live my life, you know?" "Of course," Xara agreed smoothly. "Do you ever run into anyone else and have ta explain things?" "Not really," Daçiana said. She shrugged. "Most of them wouldn't recognize me, I think. Any of my past Heralds would, most likely, the ones who are alive anyway, and probably Jazziks and Naheal, and maybe a couple others, but the others, they're not as attuned as you." She cast her gaze over Xara. "I still want to know about the blue dog." "She's doing her own thing at the moment," Xara said vaguely. "So Gunheya knows the whole story? Or no?" "I'm not lying to him if that's what you're asking," Daçiana said. "I haven't told him my entire life story but he knows the gist of it. He saw me when I was freed and in my true form, before I fell." Xara frowned, rubbing her head. "That whole thing is sort of a haze to me," she admitted. "I guess dyin' and gettin' resurrected will do that to a person. Thanks fer that, by the way," she added, slowly. "Pretty much the literal least I could do at that point," Daçiana said, tossing back her drink. Xara gave the other female a look of wary surprise, but quickly covered it with a chuckle. "And then ya came back from the dead too -- how?" "It's pretty hard to kill a being like me," Daçiana said. "Goldrinn fell in the War of the Ancients too but you still see him running around. Me, I just fell a little harder, was corrupted for awhile. Then they banished me to the twilight realm, and you know what the deal was for awhile after that. Throwing me into the twisting nether though... If I hadn't been so fel-tainted by then, I probably never would have made it back." She reflected for a moment. "This last time, I barely had the energy to reformulate. It'll be a long time till I'm any power to speak of." "Huh," Xara said with a tone of interest. "And then what?" Daçiana cast Xara an amused look. Setting the empty mug down, she turned to face the other woman, leaning forward. Xara straightened, putting a surprised look on her face, but it wasn't enough. "Don't think I can't tell what you're doing," Daçiana said. "There's more than one way to hunt, and you're particularly good at this one, but you're talking to the embodiment of the Hunt, the Prime Predator, the Beast Who Knows No Fear." Deep in her eyes, locked on Xara's, there was a flicker of an amber flame, not even an ember, but the heart of a fire unextinguished nonetheless. Xara remembered the sound of howling. Then, Daçiana leaned back. "But you don't have anything to be worried about. I don't hunt for no reason anymore. I respect the cycle of nature, I believe in balance and life. All right?" The fear and anger Xara had been studiously hiding, in order to interrogate this being and determine how much of a threat she was, came boiling out in a low spoken statement. "You hurt a lot of people, Accalia." "Don't call me that," Daçiana said, irritated. She didn't look back at Xara. "There's nothing I can do about that now, is there? If anyone wants to come take a piece out of my hide for it, they're welcome to try." The words were pointed. "And now you get to just run around and do whatever you want?" Xara put her mug down on the counter with a clonk. "You don't even feel GUILTY?" Daçiana did look at Xara then, a long, level look. "I am what I am," she says. "You either understand that, or don't." Xara sat back, shocked with understanding. "You're not capable of feeling guilty," she said. "Just like you're not capable of feeling fear." Daçiana cocked her head slightly in acknowledgment. "I'm not happy about what I did these past millennia," she said. "But I'm going to live my life now. And I'm no threat to you, or anyone you care about, and certainly not Azeroth. You don't have to pretend to be happy I'm around. You live your life, and I'll live mine. Deal?" "How do I know you won't someday be a threat again?" Xara said. Daçiana shrugged. "Anyone can fall," she said, "Anyone can get corrupted. Doesn't mean everyone should be destroyed just in case. Trust me, no corruption survived the crucible I went through. I'm surprised I survived." "Pardon me if I don't just take your word for it," Xara said with an edge. Daçiana smirked, flashing a fang again. "Good. There's no one else I'd rather have watching me." She rose from the barstool. Taking out a few gold coins from her pocket, she dropped them onto the counter. Xara rose as well, uneasy about not being on her feet when Accalia -- Daçiana -- was on hers. On the floor beside her stool, Lupa continued to watch warily, but no longer held herself ready to pounce. Daçiana glanced down at the cat and grinned, an amused baring of teeth that the cat didn't react to in the slightest. "By the way, call me Dachi," Daçiana said. With a wave over her shoulder, she turned and walked out of the tavern. "Refill, please," Xara said to the bartender, and sat back down. "And keep 'em coming."
  12. 1 point
    "Relax," the orc said. She gave the bartender a nod, who moved away to go help other customers. "I'm not going to hurt you." "Who are you?" Xara said. "What have you done?" The orc glanced around, then set down the mug she was carrying and turned to Xara. She gave a flick of her hand at the door Xara stood in front of. "Let's go outside to talk." Room to maneuver was Xara's friend in combat, and innocent bystanders were not, so Xara nodded warily and withdrew from the tavern. Outside, the city street of Orgrimmar was dirt-packed and solid beneath her feet, reassuring. She kept the orc in sight as she followed. Lupa stayed at Xara's side, gliding smoothly, her gaze also never leaving the orc. "Where's the glowing blue dog?" the orc asked as she came to a stop opposite Xara in the street. Her posture was relaxed. "None of your business," Xara said tersely. "Who are you?" The orc looked at Xara measuringly. Her expression, the way she held her head... She was just so damn familiar, it was like Xara did know her, though she was sure she didn't. There was no analogy for it. "You know who I am." "Show me your hands," Xara demanded. The orc raised her eyebrows, but lifted her hands. Without needing to be asked, she took off both gloves and showed Xara the backs. Both were unmarked. "What the fuck," Xara said again, this time adding, "are you." The orc grinned, almost a smirk, a fang flashing between her lips. She tucked her gloves into her belt and shrugged, folding her arms. "No one important to you anymore. How about that." Xara wasn't normally given to hyperbole, but she felt like she might shoot this orc after all if she didn't get a real answer in the next ten seconds. "Who the fuck are you." The orc sighed. "Daçiana. My name is Daçiana. But you knew me as..." "Accalia," Xara said.
  13. 1 point
    A ‘leaked tip’ and a couple of bribed civilians had lead to this moment in the final hours of the night. Two women stood in the Evermoon Commons alleyway amongst the corpses of several patrols of Nightwatch guards that lay where they had been cut down. The Nightwatch had thought themselves the ones laying the trap for those who dared ply their trade in contraband of Arcwine rations--instead they found themselves the prey, mere fodder some grander design by the enigmatic Commander Kal’une Danteur of the Ebonfeathers. Pelande Aijatar ran a torn scrap of cloth over the end of her spear and then tossed it to the ground, avoiding letting her gaze linger too long on the faces of the dead. Focus was key; she couldn’t let conflicting feelings get in the way. In youth she’d seen the guard as some unshakable force and somewhat aspired to them. Now fear and chaos were getting the better of them as the city descended into further disarray. Unrefined blade strokes, rushed and weak defense, topped off with sudden and unclear orders from the officers: a formula for a messy counter-attack that ultimately failed. Pelande made one more vigilant scan of their surroundings before looking to her mission partner to see how she was faring. Her partner that was cleaning her blade, seemingly taking the lectures she received from the previous missions to heart. And then she froze as her eyes locked onto an intruder of their little operation. For a moment there was silence as the man looked on at horror of the carnage the two women created. Isabaele watched the man intently, waiting to see his reaction. When he screamed for the other guards as he bolted in the opposite direction, she gave an audible sigh. “Damn.” Her soft voice conflicting with the swear. “I’ll take care of the Crier.” And with that there was the familiar arcane pop as she began her chase. Pelande raised a brow at the swear almost imperceptibly, noting how Isabaele’s tone never seemed to match her words when these happened, and gave her a silent nod of confirmation. She didn’t have to understand this strange woman to find her reliable. Reliable, and quick. From the sound of it, the man had hardly rounded the corner when Pelande’s compariot caught up to him with a crash that silenced his cries for help. Then the pool of blood leaked within her view. “Stop in the name of the Grand Magistrix, Murderer!” Commanded a new voice. This was quickly followed by the reappearance of Isabaele popping into existence. “...That didn’t go as cleanly as I like.” ...So perhaps not as reliable. The girl sprinted to grab Pelande’s hand. “We got company! Run!” Pelande quickly obliged, letting out a an audible sigh for no other reason than to let Isabaele hear her disappointment. Perhaps if she wasn’t so eager and using her little arcane teleport she would be able to scout out a situation rather than just appearing in the middle of it? Pelande tucked that little note away in the back of her mind to bring up later, when things weren’t quite so chaotic. “Don’t worry, P, we got this!” The smaller woman looked back at her as they sprinted down the alleyway as another patrol of the Duskwatch turned the corner in pursuit, spotting their fallen comrades. “Rebels! Sound the alarms, don’t let them get away!” “Shit. Shit. Shit.” Isabaele stuck her left hand to her ear, her index and middle finger pointing to the sky as her thumb created a right angle. “Things got kinda hairy out here, we could use some help, M!” A pause. And then Isabaele nodded before looking back at Pelande. “This way!” With a yank she pulled the the warrior down another connecting alleyway that lead into another street where familiar faces stood awaiting them. Captain Ludrissra and her cohorts, fully armed with weapons drawn. This was too absurd, Pelande thought to herself. Why was this woman latched onto her wrist leading her like an excited child dragging her poor exhausted mother into the Darkmoon Faire? And telling her not to be worried when she was being so jumpy? But wrenching herself free would cost them precious seconds and distance so along she went. There was an instant of cold shock when she saw what awaited them until reason took over, and she remembered. “Looks like you bit off more than you could chew; a rookie mistake.” The Slayer that wore Ludrissra’s face commented before rolling her head in command of the others. She sounded eerily so much like her. “Get out of sight. We’ll take it from here.” “Right! This way, P!” The Rogue pulled at Pelande’s arm once more as they ducked behind some foliage before their surroundings swallowed them in illusion to censor them away from the world. All they could do now is wait as the shouts down the street got louder as their pursuers approached ever closer, and hope that placing their fates in this false-faced Ludrissra would prove fruitful rather than foolhardy. With the concealment in place, Pelande let herself lean against the wall behind them, watching through the veil of leaves. She forced her breathing to slow. Part of her wanted to laugh. ‘Rookie’ was a wonderful understatement, she thought as she dragged a hand through her messy hair. Pelande eyed Isabaele, who was fixated on the scene about to unfold before them. Even with their successes under their belts she knew so little about her, and Pelande herself had been so guarded, perhaps that was damaging their teamwork. “Captain! Did you see two women run this way?” Called out the leader of the pack of Duskwatch that were hot on their trails. “They’re suspected rebels that set up an ambush in the Illicit Arcwine sting.” “And you let them out of your sight?” Scoffed Ludrissra as she turned to her comrades. “Imbeciles!” “Well-- I--” “No matter. Let’s find your runaways before the Grandmagistrix’s court gets wind of your blunder. Volroux, you take the right, we’ll take the left.” “Y-yes ma’am!” Ludrissra shot a single glance at the duo that hid under illusion before casting her eyes up towards the crowds. “Let’s hope we find them before it rains. Weather has been unpredictable since the fall.” After the crowd cleared, being lead on their fool’s errand of a chase, Isabaele finally let out a breath that she had been holding in. “...That was more exciting than I hoped…” As the illusion faded the rogue went about tying a cord to one of her oddly shaped daggers. “You okay, P?” "Exciting, I'll give you." Pelande pulled herself up but remained against the wall, idly rolling her shoulder. It was the arm Isabaele had dragged her by. Nevertheless there was a wry little smile on her face. "I'm starting to think we need some work, or we're going to run dry on luck eventually." “You’re probably right.” Isabaele’s soft voice little more than a sad coo as she tested the strength of the knot that was tied to the circular handle of the blade. “We probably wasted all those lives because that man stumbled on our work. Do you have any suggestions?” After a little hum of thought, "It seems like... we're both used to fighting alone." It seemed ridiculously obvious once she'd said it, and she fell quiet. A handful of instances came flashing into her mind; the two of them nearly tripping over each other in close quarters, blowing each other's cover, or a weapon swing getting too close for comfort. Isabaele threw the dagger upward, allowing it to entangle itself in the overhand of the roof above. “I guess you’re right. I was trained by solo fighters as well… so it makes sense.” She tugged on the cord to test how well their anchor held. “Want to do some drills or something when we get back?” "That's a start." Pelande reached out, giving it a test of her own, only seeming satisfied once she'd done so. "Or we could ask the one who made us a team. I mean, maybe he sees something we don't." “He sees a lot we don’t. The problem is getting him to actually tell us about it.” Isabaele sighed, oddly negative in terms of the leadership she seemed to have dedicated her life to for as long as Pelande had known her. Then she began her climb up the rope towards the sky. “If we work better as a team, the higher the success rate, the lower the long-term cost.” Pelande climbed along, almost speaking of him as a client on a building project rather than a superior. “I should hope he has enough sense to know that after investing so much in us.” “You can give it a try, but sometimes I think he’s playing a different game than we are. Like he’s testing us for something else than the liberation of our city. Guess it doesn’t hurt… but… He’s not like his brother…” Isabaele spoke in between pulls upwards. “...Sin wanted to empower us in our fight against the Legion and our oppressors. He spoke from a place of empathy, like he had seen this before.” Something else? “What else is there besides fighting the Legion?" Pelande seemed genuinely puzzled. It reflected how little she'd seen of the outside world since their city was sealed; it had drastically narrowed her scope of thinking. "What else could possibly matter when They are on our doorstep?" “I don’t know.” Her compatriot admitted. As the two women reached the summit of the roof of the building they scaled, the Concourse of Destiny greeted them in the foreground. And with it did the Three Armies that had marched onto the Nighthold, lost to time by Elisande’s mighty power. The bulk of the army was to their far right, the Generals to their far left as they led what was supposed to be a glorious march of unity between the relatives of the Nightborne. And in the middle stood a lone warrior in mid stride to reach them. Isabaele had gone silent. It was one thing to know of the events that had taken place on the Concourse; it was another entirely to see it in person. Once one was over the initial shock of seeing all these soldiers and their leaders frozen in place, however, an eeriness settled in. It brought to mind many of the homes and gardens Pelande had built for people more important than herself, the lifelike statues they would adorn their properties with, whose cold stares unsettled her. Her partner was fixated on one, so she drew closer with caution, as if she feared a loud noise would shatter the whole lot of them like glass. “...We were there, you know.” Her partner’s voice soft as an evening breeze. “Sin… he was so proud of them. He said that in spite of their rocky histories, they were making a new future for us…” 'In exchange for what?' was what Pelande wondered, but she kept that to herself, instead musing aloud that: "We were all the same, once." “Once, yes.” Isabaele ripped her eyes of the middle man for a mere moment to retrieve her strange dagger, only to return them as she worked on the knot of cord that remained attached to it. “And perhaps, one day, we can get over our differences and become the same once more. I think… Commander Sin dreams of this, for us to remember the strength we can find in Unity.” She wasn't afraid to voice this doubt. "Things are too diffaerent now. I don't think it'll ever be like that again, and maybe that's okay." Her tone turned thoughtful. "Just because we were all one People doesn't mean things were great." “You don’t think so?” The doubt made her comrade frown as she canted her head, eyes still watching the scene before them. “Maybe you’re right, but I think it’s a lovely dream. Better than being cooped up in a Bubble, don’t you think? "Before I lived in an actual bubble, I lived in a different sort of one." She cracked a smile, crossing her arms across her chest. "My missions with you have been my first taste of life outside of some kind of isolation and I gotta say, I do prefer this." “I like that you’ve joined us too.” A smile formed upon her lips. “...Have you thought about what you want to do when the war is over?” "Nope," Pelande freely admitted, shrugging, but then she paused. "...well..." She tilted her head to the side, ponderous, contemplating whether or not to go on. Ultimately she threw caution to the wind. "I want to see Azeroth. Outsiders talk about such amazing places and I've been stuck here seeing the same sights for ten thousand years. Makes me feel like I need to make up for lost time, you know?" “Could be fun!” Isabaele cheered on the warrior as she actually talked about herself for once. Her attention diverted for the meantime. “...Whoah, are you really ten thousand years old?” She'd gotten this sort of reaction before, usually out of younger work crew on her building sites, so she treated it with the same bemused smile as she usually did. "I don't show it, do I?" she teased. "But, yes. More so, actually. I didn't originally live here. I got sealed in when they put the barrier up, so, it became Home." “Crazy…” Isabaele stared in awe of her elder. “All I knew before the Ebonfeathers picked me up was a single manor… any ideas on what place you want to see first? I’m thinking Silvermoon.” A single manor--well, that sounded familiar. Pelande tucked that away to address later. "The more fantastical the better. I don't remember place names, but I know the stories: a Titan city in the north, a forest full of faerie dragons, and an underground city built by Dwarves.” “It sounds like you got a lot of travelling ahead of you. How are you going to get there?” "However most people do it, I would think. So what are you going to do?" “Promise you won’t laugh?” There was an uncomfortably long silence. Quietly, Pelande clenched her thumb. "Yes." Isabaele nodded once the promise was made, seemingly unphased by the passing of time. “I’m going to marry him.” Her soft voice lacked any sense of irony. She raised her gloved hand, a single finger pointing to the center of the Concourse of Destiny where the singular man frozen in place as he desperately tried to reach the generals at the front. “He saved me from my old life, gave me direction and purpose… he even showed me how to fight. Before him, I was nothing. With him, I will become a proper Lady. We’ll save all the Elven peoples together, for a brighter tomorrow.” The slight pop was masked by the totally casual movement of Pelande's metal-clad heel. After blinking and using her loose hand to tuck some windward hair behind her ear, running the line through her mind over and over to make sure she had it all correct, she very slowly nodded, her gaze moving to the figure Isabaele pointed out. "I... see." Was her partner unstable, or was this the new normal? Pelande decided she had no standard to measure it all by yet, so she reserved judgement. It didn't involve her, right? So no need to worry. Right? "Can I give you a piece of advice?" “Of course, P, I’m sure you have a lot of experience in the ten thousand years you’ve been around!” As always, the younger rogue looked back at Pelande, her soft spoken voice as warm and inviting as always. There was a nearly undetectable rise of one brow; she couldn't decide whether that jarring feeling had been from the perceived sarcasm from her partner, or her own insecurity rearing its ugly head, but it didn't matter. "Never invest all your resources and materials into one project. Always have extras on hand. What if the contractor decides not to pay you? If they decide they don't like the work you did and force you to do more for free?" Pelande was rewarded with a tilt of the girl’s head as she considered the words. “...Okay…” Isabaele’s tone was as gentle as always, making it hard to read if she had truly understand the words of advice given or not. But before it could be pondered upon, the girl changed the subject. “...The alarm bells seem to have stopped. Ready to go home?” That was Home now, Pelande supposed, and she answered with a nod. "Yea, I am. I want some wine." Isabaele nodded before she made the same motion she had earlier in the day. Her hand came to rest parallel with her ear, index and middle finger pointed towards the sky and the thumb at a ninety degree angle. A small light shimmered within her palm. “M, we’re ready. Take us home.” In response a portal of similar shimmering light appeared beside them upon the roof. Isabaele nodded at her partner and motioned towards it as she stole one more look longfully at the Concourse. “We’ll see each other again soon, my prince. I promise.”
  14. 1 point
    Full Name: Goreth Nicknames: Ret Date of Birth: Year 600 by the King’s Calendar Age: 26 Race: Mag’har Orc Gender: Male Hair: Jet black Skin: Reddish-brown Eyes: Amber Height: 6’5” Weight: 232 lbs Place of residence: Orgrimmar Place of Birth: Nagrand, Draenor (AU) Known Relatives: Father - Borgug, deceased. Mother - Glasha, deceased. Older sister - Rekamai, missing, presumed dead Religion/Philosophy: Shamanism Occupation: Shaman Group/Guild affiliation: None (yet) Guild Rank: N/A Enemies: Lightforged Draenei Likes: The elements, meditation, other Mag’har orcs Favorite Foods: Pork belly, pastries when he can get them Favorite Drinks: Mead Favorite Colors: Red Weapons of Choice: Maces, axes, shields Dislikes: The Draenei, dishonorable actions Hobbies: Fishing, cooking Physical Features: Heavily muscled like most male Mag’har, but is slim in build. His jet black hair is long on both his head and beard, and is braided throughout. Special Abilities: Has an affinity for air over the other elements Positive Personality Traits: Patience, sense of humor Negative Personality Traits: Has issues forming trust and creating long lasting relationships with others Misc. Quirks: None Played by What Famous Person: N/A Theme Songs: None History: Goreth was born in AU Nagrand, Draenor, to Borgug, a shaman, and Glasha, a blademaster. A member of the Frostwolf Clan, he had a traditional orc upbringing, going through all the rites and trials that would be expected of any orc, with his parents originally planning to have him follow in his mother’s footsteps, same as his older sister, Rekamai. This changed, however, when Goreth began to show an affinity for the elements. Pursuing the shaman’s path, he took to it well, as not only did it suit his gentler nature, but he had a natural connection with the elements. Upon coming of age, Goreth embarked on his journey to the Throne of the Elements to seek the blessings of the spirits, and to attune his mind to the elements. He would return a few years later, a fully fledged shaman, taking his place at his father’s side a spiritual leader for his people. It was during this time that the Draenei would begin their attempts at “converting” their once orcish allies to the Light. Both on the front lines wielding the fury of the elements, and acting as healer to the many wounds inflicted by their pursuers, Goreth pressed on, suffering both the loss of his mother and father during a skirmish. Soon after, Horde emissaries emerged from the Nether, seeking the aid of the Mag’har. In the battle that followed, Goreth and Rekamai became separated in an explosion. He looked frantically for her among the debris and bodies, but could not find her. Forced into a retreat, Goreth fled. With Grom Hellscream leading one last charge against the Draenei, and presuming his sister to be dead, Goreth followed the Horde into Azeroth where he would make his new home, and fight for his new allies. Edit: Updated age and birth year
  15. 1 point
    “You should put another lightforge net on that hill. The hunter has claws like steel and won’t be hindered by a brisk climb,” Brinnea gestured with the stump of her right arm. She felt a phantom finger point as well, but where it should have been there was only empty air. Christa pushed the wheelchair and nodded at a pair of squires, who quickly set to work at the fortifications. “That should do for the east side. What about the north?” “Trenches and stakes. The land rolls down naturally, but it’s hard to see as you enter. She’ll be eager to attack after missing me the last time. Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll fall in. More realistically, it will make it harder for her to maneuver out of camp.” Brinnea felt the need to stand and stretch her legs. It was a maddening feeling, the desire to move what cannot be moved. Christa made an affirmative noise and passed the order along. The knights following the sisters seemed less than amused by this display. The dwarf man wearing captain’s colors least of all. “I won’t just stand idly while this death knight gives commands," he had said when Brin asked to be shown around. Brin had replied, “I am merely pointing out what should be done to safeguard against a more threatening undead foe. The safest precaution would be to leave me in the river you fished me from.” Christa cut the head off that conversation immediately. “That takes care of the parameter,” Christa said. “Now we need to discuss where you’ll be during all of this.” “Dangling from a gallows like meat for a trap,” Brinnea replied without a trace of sarcasm. “We talked about that plan.” “It’s the smartest play.” “Not for you, it isn’t.” Brinnea huffed. “It’s not as if I can move myself around anyway. Keeping me in clear view at all times will ensure that monster will be visible as well.” Christa gestured to the watchtower at the center of the encampment. “At the top of that, you’ll have walls and archers about to protect you. We knights are the best equipped to kill this hunter. You won’t be in any danger.” “Not until she cuts through your archers. I don’t need anyone risking their lives for mine.” The dwarf cleared his throat. “Don’t I get a say in this?” Christa scowled. “You had your say, Captain Redstone. But I have the command here, and I have elected to ignore your say.” “We are of equal rank, Velmon! And what you intend to do here is a serious waste of Silver Hand resources!” “A powerful undead abomination is coming right for us. You think I intend to miss that opportunity?” “From all we have heard of this monster, it only cares to kill your no-limbed, deadweight sister and anyone who gets in the way of her.” Brinnea sighed. “The creature is erratic, dangerous, and subservient to a deceased witch of the Burning Legion. Without anyone giving her orders, she’s like to go on a mad killing spree in distress. The safest thing is to put her down using me as bait.” The dwarf sniffed contemptuously. “Aye, you’d know all about killing sprees, wouldn’t you, Butcher?” Christa opened her mouth to reply, but Brin cut her off with a pleading look. The older sister composed herself. “My plan shall come in effect. I am taking my sister to the roof of the tower. Captain, you shall remain below to lead the shield wall. Dismissed.” Christa wheeled Brin away, leaving the stout knight with a flustered expression. *** “Why did you come this way, Brinnea?” Christa asked as they watched the sun set from the roof of the watchtower. The pink light painted the clouds a dreamy color. “I wanted to see Andorhal,” Brin answered. One last time. “To what end? Home is long gone. All we can do now is try to build a new one.” “I tried that a few times. I’m no longer built for such endeavors.” Christa had nothing to say to that. Brin looked her sister up and down. She had always been tall and thickset, but now she was stern and proud and full of purpose. The Light had a plan for her. I was left alone in the dark, despite my cries for help. “What will you do about the limbs?” Christa asked. “You death knights have means of replacing them, right?” “I haven’t counted myself as one of the Ebon Blade for years,” Brin said, “I won’t even be able to make my own rune blade, let alone have limbs replaced.” “You must know someone who could fix you up.” Brin smiled callously. “Haven’t you heard? I’m a friendless killer. A butcher of innocents. Even more sinister folk don’t want anything to do with me. I’m a waystone for bad luck.” Christa’s brown eyes flashed angrily. “I’ve had enough of that despairing tone of yours. Even as a little kid you were always moaning about your lot in life. I need a straight answer from you. No bullshit. Did you kill the Gilneans in Valsharah?” “I may as well have.” “Explain. Speak up and look at me when you talk. Were you not forced to kill them by Cynthia?” The witch’s golden eyes flashed in the back of her mind. You wanted it, the eyes said. You enjoyed it. “It’s true that she commanded me to go to the camp. I was to scout the defenses and begin an attack if the opportunity was ripe.” “And did you?” Brinnea nodded. “I didn’t know whose camp it was until I got there. Esmerra.” Brin spat the name hatefully. “She deserved to die. She sacrificed me, my daughter, and Parigan to that black-hearted devil-woman. She deceived us hoping to profit from our deaths.” “So you killed her?” “I did. I called for the demons to attack. I unleashed undead on the town. And when I had her cornered I showed no mercy. She died screaming, torn to shreds by ghouls. And I…I felt light afterwards. Like I’d removed a stain from the world and took a weight off my shoulders. I’m sick, Christa. There’s something broken in me that can’t be fixed.” Tears welled in her eyes. Brin lifted a hand to wipe them away, but there was no hand to lift. She cursed and rubbed her face on her bicep. “I don’t know about all that,” Christa said nonchalantly. “Mother always said if you’re sick, go to the healer.” Brin looked up at her. “What are you saying?” “I’ve known men and women who went mad on campaign in Northrend. They went to a man in the Storm Peaks, and when they returned they were back to normal.” Brin was about to ask more when a shout called her attention to the base of the tower. “She’s coming! She tore the cavalry to shreds! Ready yourselves, fools!” Christa swore. “Damn Redstone! I told him to hold position, not send our heavy horse out to scout!” She picked herself from her seat and took up her mace and shield. She looked at Brinnea with eyes set like stone. “Stay here. I’ll be back soon.” Brinnea felt a rush of panic. You don’t know that, she almost said. Then Christa was gone. It was full dark now, and torches shone across the camp below. Shouts told Brin where to look. The hunter moved like a shadow in a sea of shadows. She came from the east, down the hillside. The lightforged net didn’t trigger, so she must have leapt over it. Bits of armor and weapons rained down on the defenders, forcing them to stay put as the hunter charged downhill on her spiderlike limbs. The archers nocked, drew, and loosed. The hunter took two blessed arrows and screeched angrily but did not slow down. She barreled into the shield wall. Brin had been expecting her to cut through the paladins like she had the mercenaries in Arathi, but these knights were made of sterner stuff, and blessed by the Light as well. The hunter retreated, pelted by arrows and weapons that burned her at the touch. She spouted acid but shields of light kept the defenders mostly unharmed. The hunter limped around the side, aiming to climb the side of the tower no doubt. Christa emerged from the tower with a pair of squires attending her, each armed with a shimmering silver lance. Christa herself looked fierce in silver plate and bearing a heavy oaken shield against the creature. The hunter leapt overhead, but Christa slammed her out of the air. The trio cornered the beast against the side of the tower. She seemed to have damaged her limbs, so the beast could not scamper up the side to escape. Christa stepped back as the archers hailed arrows down on the hunter. With one final ear-splitting scream, it was over. Brinnea let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. Brin had two of the archers help her downstairs to her wheelchair, where Christa met her. “A quick one, that,” she commented simply. “I can see how you had so much trouble, so poorly armed as you were.” Brin smiled. “You’re not even out of breath. I’ll admit, you’ve gotten pretty good at what you do.” Christa smirked. “Well, I haven’t been sitting on my hands all these years, have I? Do you want to see the body? It might set your mind at ease.” Brinnea nodded. When they reached the corpse, Brinnea realized for the first time how young the girl looked. She must have been a beauty at one time, but not her mouth was twice as long as a normal one and her teeth were a jagged ruin of metal shards. Her eyes were black and yellow and lifeless, but Brin could swear she saw a hint of gratitude in them, as if she were happy to finally be at rest. “Christa,” Brin said, “What’s the name of that man in the mountains? The one who cured those soldiers?” “They never mentioned a name,” she replied. “But I can tell you where to find him.” As they returned to the tent Brin was recovering in, the death knight glanced out at the vast, dark fields of Lordaeron. In the distance she saw lights that she knew belonged to Andorhal, the place she once called home. And in that dark distance, she glimpsed a grey figure lope across the field. The wolf looked at her with uncertain eyes. They were eyes that spoke to her clearly. This is not the end of the road.
  16. 1 point
    “She should have visited us by now,” Charlotte said for the sixth time. Once more, and we’ll have good luck, August thought to himself. Waller said seven is a lucky number. “She’s busy,” the wolf boy replied, uncertain. That the Night Vanguard would be affected by the talk of war August heard daily in the streets of Ironforge, he had no doubt. But Lupa always looked after us before. She thinks of Charlotte before anyone else. Even me. “Ugh! Why did she send us to this stupid place? It’s so stuffy in Ironforge!” the strawberry-haired girl jumped up and down on her bed, thankfully covered with a mattress since the bed itself was carved from the very rock of the mountain. The room they slept in was fancy, August supposed. He’d only ever slept in one dwarven house before, and it was nowhere near the size of this one. It was enough to make him feel like a blind pup all over again. August carefully watered his potted plant at the window. Summer was drawing to a close, and sunlight would be scarce in Autumn, so he kept the window open as often as he could. Charlotte had once complained of the draft – the mountain wind was cold no matter what time of year it was – but August was adamant about keeping the plant healthy. “It’s the only plant I brought from the Grove,” he had explained. Charlotte had only huffed and pouted. August was glad she didn’t threaten to burn it like she did everything else these days. “If she can’t come visit us, then we should go visit her!” Charlotte said. August shook his head, not bothering to look away from his plant. “She said to stay. She said it was too dangerous in the Grove. We’ll be safe here.” “But it’s so booooooring!” the girl shouted, falling on her mattress with a loud plop. Waller entered the room, rubbing his temples sleepily. “Children,” he said in his gravelly dwarven tone, “It’s the weekend. I don’t get to sleep in often. So why in the bloody hell are you making so much noise at the crack of dawn?” “August opened the window again,” Charlotte complained. The boy glared at her. “She was jumping on the bed,” he retorted. “Yeah, well—” Waller lifted his hands and shook his head, his oddly short beard jiggling as he did. “I don’t want to hear it. Why don’t you two go out for a breather while I catch some more winks?” “I will, but August is just going to stay with his stupid plant.” “It’s called Kingsblood,” August insisted. “Besides, Mama hasn’t visited us yet. She promised to visit us every week!” Guess that’s good luck for us, then. “Every week she can,” Waller reminded the girl. “Brinnea’s busy. The Vanguard’s at the front of a war. There’s no telling when she’ll be able to come next.” That didn’t quell Charlotte’s displeasure at all. The girl leapt off the bed and darted by Waller’s legs and out into the long hall that served as their dining room and living space. August breathed a sigh of relief and continued to tend to his Kingsblood. If I keep this up, it should sprout into a full bush, then it can survive the winter. “Boy, you’d best follow her,” Waller said, dashing August’s hopes. “But I—ok, fine.” August set his watering can aside and ran after his sister. Brinnea had twice told him to watch after the girl. The first time had been the first she’d ever spoken to him alone. She sat him down on a stump at the shore of Pandaria. He remembered the mountains towering overhead as she spoke. “August, your mother was a brave woman, so I know you’re brave, too. My daughter means the world to me, and I will do everything I can to protect her. If you want to be part of our family, then you’ll have to do the same. We look out for each other. Can you do that?” He had nodded, not fully knowing what he had gotten himself into. When they were readying to leave for Ironforge, she had looked him in the eyes and made him repeat his promise. Maybe I should have just stayed in my garden, he thought sullenly. August’s garden had been his safe place where he grew plants of all kinds, some he didn’t even know the names of. Master Calrin, his druid teacher, had told him how impressive it was for an eleven-year-old to grow so many in so short a time. It made him proud to think on it… …and sad, as well. Charlotte had already made it to the front door, but the way was blocked by Waller’s cousin Shea. Charlotte couldn’t stand the portly dwarven woman, but lately she couldn’t stand anyone else, either. “Doesh the little princesh want to go for a walk in the big, bad mountain?” Shea mocked. She smiled on the side of her face that still worked. August didn’t understand it much, but Waller had told him in private about Shea’s troubled health in her youth. She had once had frequent attacks that paralyzed the flesh of her face. At times, it would droop and she could scarcely control her own tongue, but she had improved over the years. Now, she only slobbered occasionally, and her words were mostly intelligible. “Move, Shea! And stop calling me that!” Charlotte stamped her foot, but the sound barely echoed beyond the great feasting table resting in the hall’s center. August liked the table. It was made of polished wood to shiny he could see his own face in it, and it was marked with a howling wolf’s silhouette in the center, framed by a full moon. That was Charlotte’s sigil, they told him, but it reminded him of his old home in the woods. “The little princesh tried to run off half a dozen timesh,” Shea slobbered, “I didn’t loosh half my witsh when I losht half my face. If you’re going anywhere, it’sh with someone who can bring you back at the end of the night.” “Then August can come with me. Just let me go, already! I’m sick of this stupid place!” The girl yelled in frustration, and a ball of fire formed in her hand. Shea’s one set of working eyelids widened, and she backed up a pace as Charlotte hurled the ball at the huge hearth at the far end of the room. The flames exploded, filling the room with smoke in seconds. Coughing, Shea ushered Charlotte and August outside by their collars. Waller joined them shortly after, his sleeping gown grey with ashes. Charlotte snickered. “Oh, so you’re laughing now, are you? D’you think I brought you into my hall out of the kindness of my heart just to let you burn down the place, child? No! No more magic in my hall! I won’t have it!” Charlotte launched into another round of loud complaints before Shea shook her into silence. August would have felt bad, but ever since he’d come to Ironforge, his druidic magic had forsaken him. This just seemed fair. Waller sighed. “Listen, girl, I know how hard this is for you. But the reality is, you need to be patient. You’re meant for great things, but great people must be patient, or they’ll let everyone down who looks up to them. Do you want to let people down?” Charlotte shook her head. “Good. Now run along and try not to burn down the Great Forge. I don’t know how you’d do it, but I’m sure you’d find a way. Boy, make sure she gets home by sunset.” August nodded, and followed Charlotte, who had started jogging off the moment Shea released her. The girl started a full sprint once the dwarves were back in the hall and out of sight. August was easily faster than her, but he hung back for now. I don’t want to get yelled at again, but I don’t think I can avoid that today. The pair wound their way from the West Arm of the Commons up into the Mystic Ward. They passed by the academy where they were instructed in the refined arts and the high sciences. They passed the great stone building layered in runes where Charlotte was taught the ways of the arcane, and they flew by the pools of knowledge where the dwarven mystics conducted rituals. At least, that was what August had heard. Mostly the children just used it for water games until the grey-bearded dwarves chased them away. Finally, they came to a stop at the foot of a standing stone marked with runes they had been learning to read. Charlotte could already read Common and most of Dwarven, but August was still a novice at any reading whatsoever. Every day when his instructors would point at a shape and say a word, he would cock his head and stare, but he failed to commit any of it to memory. Rather than dwell on it, he focused on his favorite subjects: herbology and biology. Charlotte sat down by the headstone and kicked her slippers off her feet. She kicked at the water half-heartedly and stared at the ripples. August wasn’t sure what to do, so he sat down alongside her. “It’s just not fair,” his sister mumbled. “Why would she leave us here? It’s not fair…” She whipped up a fireball and tossed it into the water to make it steam. Her quick and careless use of fire magic made August uncomfortable, especially because she was growing better at it. The mystics taught her all sorts of things in that big stone building, but August wasn’t allowed in, and Charlotte mostly just complained about how smelly the old women were, so he learned not to think on it much. “You wanna play with Colin?” August asked hopefully. Though he and her were seeing eye-to-eye on fewer things lately, they always enjoyed playing with Colin together. Charlotte smiled. She sprang up, drew out her fiery orange chalk, and sketched her runes in the ground beside the pool’s edge. As she walked in the circle, filling it in with complicated script, more children came around them, curious of what was going on. August wrinkled his nose at the smell of the chalk. It reminded him of rot and fire, but he supposed it was worthwhile given the result. Charlotte skipped backwards once the circle was complete. She waved her hands and chanted in her sing-song voice, and the runes began to glow like a low hearthfire. August took an instinctive step back. This part was never precise. A puff of smoke took to the air, and for a moment the space was hot as the Great Forge half the mountain away. When the smoke settled, a short dog made of living flames bounded about in a circle, chasing his own tail. About his neck was a blue collar with a silvery snowflake pendant, which August knew made it safe to touch the dog. He stepped forward first, aware of the eyes on him as he pet the fiery dog. The other children gasped at first, then burst out in cheers and laughs. They swarmed in, and Colin reveled in the attention. Charlotte quickly began to explain the dog and the magic that made him cool to the touch, but August’s attention was drawn elsewhere. An old hermit wearing a pointed hat sat on the edge of the pool with a gnarled staff across his lap. Though the brim of his hat concealed much of his face, August could see a single eye watching him closely. The eye was dark and glittery like a black pebble in a lakebed and made him shiver when he looked into it. “C’mon, August, Colin is getting away!” Charlotte nudged the boy’s shoulder. The fiery dog was halfway to the Great Forge, most likely drawn by the heat of it, and the pack of children were in hot pursuit. Parents were roaring after them, shouting in Dwarven all the while. August began to run, knowing he could catch up to the children and even outrun them without issue, but his gaze kept drifting back to the hermit. The man watched him as he went and raised a hand as a farewell. When night came in Ironforge, you knew it not by the dimming light nor the position of the sun as August had learned in the shadowy woods of Silverpine. In Ironforge, bells would ring and be heard across the city, ringing once for each hour past midday or midnight. Eight strikes marked nighttime, and August made certain Charlotte knew of it. It took a great deal of time to get her back home, and by then the ninth tolling had begun, and Shea mocked the girl’s lateness with a jape. Charlotte acted proud and defiant until the bathing started. Once Shea was done with her, Charlotte’s flesh was red and raw. The girl slipped on her bedclothes with many groans. August couldn’t sleep that night. In his dreams, he ran with his pack, and his heart raced as they neared a kill. He carried a knife in hand, as he always did, but his kin carried only tooth and claw. When the prey fell and it was time to deliver the final blow, he woke in a pool of sweat. Charlotte snored fitfully – when the girl fell asleep, she slept like the dead, only noisier – so August stood up and opened the window to let the cool air in. He could hear a bird’s cry somewhere out in the grey-black sky. August sometimes dreamed of flying instead of hunting, but in every dream, he had a pack again. He was whole again. He looked at Charlotte, feeling guilty. Brinnea was like a mother to him, a guardian and a guide like his first Lupa had been years ago. But she was not his mother. Nobody could replace her, though she had not been of his father’s pack. And Father… The bird’s cry grew louder. August wondered if it was alone, and how long it had been. Birds of prey hunted alone, he knew. Unlike the wolf, the bird did not know family. Did that make the bird happier? Was it better to always be alone? August had no answers, so he tried to tend to his plant a while to ease his mind. But the bird’s cry drew nearer, as though it were right in front of him. A shadow flew over his head, straight through the window and into the room. August’s first thought was of Charlotte. He whirled around, his knife suddenly in hand. The shadow of a bird had vanished and left in its place the hermit from the pool in the Mystic Ward. “Oh, hello,” the one-eyed man muttered, “Bloody windy outside. I thought you might have the window shut.” “Who are you?” August demanded. He wondered if he should shout to bring Waller and Shea, but instead he waited. “You may call me Wilmar, young one, for that’s my name. To call me anything else would be awfully confusing.” The man’s dung-brown hair was long and seemed uncut for many years. It ran down his back to his waist like a fur cape while his beard jutted out in wild tufts. He had only one eye, and that was dark and red where most eyes were white. He placed his gnarled staff against the wall and drew a smoking pipe. “What are you doing in here? Why were you watching us earlier?” August tried to make his voice sound strong and sure, like Brinnea’s, but he must have seemed a little thing to this man, and weak. “I can always sniff out potential, young one. Believe me. And I know what it’s like to feel the call of the wild, only to have it shut away from you like a dog trapped in a kennel or a bird in a cage. That’s why I was watching you. Why I’m here…well, that’s to train you, of course.” A light smoke filled the room as Wilmar lit his pipe and puffed. Charlotte did little more than twitch at the disturbance. August lowered his knife. “You can train me? You can make me a druid?” “Well, the Emerald Dream makes the true druids. I can show you a path and tell you how to walk it, and the rest will be up to you. So, what do you say?” There was little thought in August’s head other than his reply, which was immediate: “Yes!”
  17. 1 point
    Well, Darkshore is a warzone again. A real one, this time. The Night Elves have invoked their goddess and the Horde has asked that we defend the land that we attempted to take. Sylvanas has been plaguing it, so I'm not sure what the point of it all is. Survival? How are we supposed to survive on plagued land? Does she expect us all to go there for the glory of battle and nothing else? We're not that stupid, Sylvanas. The Alliance is expected to attack Andorhol, soon. With them, the Night Vanguard. I can't say I'm at all surprised. Ever since we broke our treaty they've somehow managed to pop up in places where conflict is imminent, so what's one more battle? They outnumber us, that's for sure. They have superior numbers and Margoz can pull dozens of troops out of his ass if he so chooses. We're not going to win this fight by throwing bodies at him and I won't sacrifice my men that way. I have a better idea, one that utilizes the strengths that the Horde has and the Alliance doesn't. No, it's not the plague.
  18. 1 point
    12.15.18 So much has happened since I last picked up this book. Teldrassil is burnt to ash. Undercity and Brill are lost to the Alliance. Twilight Empire cornered us in the guildhall, ran us out, and took over the place. Awatu picked Alterac to be our new home. So now we live in among ogres in the middle of nowhere instead of among Forsaken in a respectable town. A couple of the Empire followed me to the farm when I escaped Brill. They took my prisoner—the Tirisfal killer—from me and drove me off my own property. I’m sure they freed the prisoner. I guess they wouldn’t consider her guilty of murder for only killing Forsaken. Since then, the Horde has moved out to Zandalar to make allies of the trolls there. There have been skirmishes here and there with the Alliance since then, in Arathi and Darkshore, and a few on the islands of Zandalar and Kul Tiras, but nothing major. Awatu has named me Irredeemable. I’ve been kept busy organizing our attacks against the Alliance, and planning other hunts and events for Grim, whether for benefit or entertainment. Along with that, I’ve been playing politics with other organizations of the Horde both to make alliances with them and to bolster our own numbers. It has been slow, tedious work to find other organizations like us, that are interested in joining together to hunt Alliance. Killing is so much easier than making friends. I told Canai I would speak to Cobrak and see if any of his company want to fight alongside us as some of them once did. It’s been a while since I visited the Port. I should stop somewhere and get some cookies for Gruk on the way. Darrethy has joined The Grim. I have no doubt his viewpoints and actions are perfectly in line with the Mandate. I’m certain he will be successful here. I saw him at his interview, though I let Qabian do most of the talking, but I haven’t sought him out since. I remember long talks with him and a few others around the fire in the Brokenspear. I stabbed his wife in cold blood once, just to hurt him. I can’t remember now if he had done something to anger me that much, or if I felt too close to him and did it to make him hate me. Maybe a bit of both. Getting too close to someone gives them power over you. It also makes them a target for your enemies. I'm very interested to see how he fares in The Grim.
  19. 1 point
    Her feet took her back down the tiers. Conscious thought had little to do with it, as she had no plan, no idea for where to go from here. She would get a letter to Rylie; even with the new conflict, Juli knew there were some on the other faction who would help. But past that, her future was a complete blank. It was a state she had never before in her life found herself. So she wandered through the Zandalari city of which she didn't even know the name. The crowds took her in without a second glance. She was just another Sin'dorei soldier here for the war effort. Without the distinctive, famous tabard, her appearance attracted no attention at all. The only thing that did was when she accidentally brushed by someone too closely. They looked at her with a bit of startlement when they felt the aura. Far more active than that of most Light-wielders, it rose off her with a heat anyone standing close enough could feel. Constantly burning, it could not be quenched. Finally she stopped at the edge of the dock area. Down in the water swam schools of bright fish, and slower, larger ones alone. A couple people stood fishing for them nearby, conversing with one another. Juli didn't pay them any attention and them her any either. Instead, she focused her thoughts on figuring out what she was supposed to do next. It felt like a monumental effort, but eventually, the answer arose within her, the remnants of whatever soul or morals she'd once had. Survive, and do as little harm as possible. She inhaled and exhaled slowly as the bare, cynical truth of it settled over her, and she began to apply it with a cold and calculating eye to her life. While she had few responsibilities now, there were still some things where she had to ensure that her inaction did no harm. The moment she decided was the moment the voice next to her registered. "Aye... inna way... Peaceful b--" "Cobrak?" Juli said before she realized what she was doing. The orc, fishing with a companion Juli also recognized, turned swiftly at the sound of her voice. His one good eye widened as he took her in, reconciling the voice with her appearance, and the pipe in his mouth began to droop. "Hey," she said, for lack of any better ideas. Cobrak continued to stare as the pipe fell out of his mouth to land in the water below with an unnoticed splash. Behind him, Megeda said, "Greetings." Juli gave him a nod and looked back at Cobrak, who was still staring at her in disbelief. "I'm not a ghost, by the way," she said, since he looked like he was seeing one. Megeda tilted his head, seeming to suddenly realize something, as Cobrak let out a strangled laugh, then began to smile, weakly. "Fuckin' shite..." the orc finally managed. "Commander Liene... You look different," Megeda stated. Cobrak set aside his fishing pole, rose to his feet, and swiftly closed the distance between them. Then, he poked her with one finger. She just looked at him. "...'Ah ta see. Bout tha ghost part," he said. Without further ado, he folded her arms around her in a hug, one hand patting her back. It was the first time anyone had touched her in over six months, and it felt like something that was happening to something else. Juli just stood there, not returning the hug, until he released her. He didn't seem to notice her reticence, or the aura. "Shittin' 'ell, Liene!" he laughed again in disbelief. "I'm sorry for my absence," she said evenly. "I hope it hasn't caused any problems." "Tha fuck 'appened? We spent long as 'ell lookin' fer ya... e'en tha Earthen didnae..." Cobrak tweaked his head a little then, finally sensing something was amiss. "...Ya... alright?" The glass wall was here, too. She and Cobrak had achieved a level of respect with each other over the years, especially after he took charge of Borrowed Time. They had disagreed vociferously over many a subject, but still always recognized they both wanted the best for their people, and had each others' backs without exception. Or so she had thought until she'd heard what he'd done shortly before her mission to Silithus. Then there was the whole staring into the void thing that had stripped all pretension from everything anyway. It was all really moot. She couldn't connect to anyone anymore, if she ever really had. But she couldn't say all that, so instead she said, "I'm... just getting used to things again. I was trapped below Silithus with nothing but the void for company for most of this time." Cobrak's eye widened as he looked her over again. Like Kex'ti, he had a special loathing for all things Void and clearly couldn't help the fear that sprang to mind. "Oi. Ya... ya didnae..." "Yet you do not carry its taint," Megeda said with surety. The Light he himself wielded could doubtlessly discern as much. "No, far from it," Juli said in response to both of them. She held out a hand, curling it into a fist. With a moment's focus, a burst of Light showered outward. Cobrak let loose a breath, blinking. "Woah. That didnae 'appen fore." "So one set of rumors was exaggerated. The other was true?" Megeda inquired. "You'll have to be more specific," Juli said, lowering her hand. "We all thought ya wuz dead," Cobrak said. "One was that you disappeared in Silithus, presumed dead," Megeda agreed. "The other was that you were a paladin." "The irony isn't lost on me," she replied. With how much of her life she had spent denying her potential, all because of... well, it didn't matter anymore. It was either the Light or the Void, and she had chosen. Cobrak was shaking his head, still in disbelief to a degree. "I've been bribin' them boys in Silithus ta dig deeper after whar... we found... jus'.... nuthin' o' ya. Jus' yer shield..." "You found my shield?" Juli said. Once, it had felt like an extension of her body, but now the idea of getting it back felt... wrong. She had come to rely more on Mercy than she ever had on her shield. Cobrak grunted. "Aye. Wuz gonna put it on tha statue we commissioned..." A snorted chuckle. "Ya cost me a few dozen gold pieces now that that things goin' ta waste..." "...A statue?" "Aye," Cobrak said again. "Likka all our friends who parted this world... sumthin' we kin remember." "...Well, thank you for the sentiment," Juli said after a moment. She didn't ask about the shield. Cobrak snorted in good humor. "Shut it, good ta know yer alive. Lost too many friends already, but always good ta see one still kickin'." Friends. He thought they were still friends. "How fares Borrowed Time?" she asked instead of responding, including Megeda in the question. He had been regarding her with his lips tightly pressed together, unlike Cobrak unwilling to overlook her changed demeanor. Still, he was the one who responded. "Unsieged... For now," the tauren stated. "A welcome change," she said. Cobrak looked back at Megeda. "Well, things be..." He hummed, looking for the right word. "Even for the moment. Nothin' too upsettin' or well..." "A lot of things have happened while I was gone," Juli said. "There is division over how the conflict is to be handled," Megeda said. "Some have joined our ranks, others have left..." The three chatted for a minute longer about current events. Eventually Juli said, "I haven't reported myself alive to the Horde chain of command yet. I'm... not sure I want to get involved." "Thar's always room in tha Champions," Cobrak suggested. "They're workin' on 'ealin' Azeroth more than fightin'... I been sendin' mosta tha Azerite we recover from tha Allys ta them anyway." "Chieftain..." Megeda said, "she just got BACK from Silithus." "Champs work outta a lotta places," Cobrak argued. "Azerite's poppin' up er'rywhar. But..." He looked at Juli. "Yer always welcome at tha Port. Iffin ya need a place ta find yer 'ead an' think bout things wiffout worryin' bout a roof o'er yer head." "Thank you, I appreciate that," Juli said politely, with no intention whatsoever of taking up the offer. Megeda looked between the two. "So we are to forget the treachery then?" he said. "S'in tha past, Meg..." Cobrak grunted awkwardly. "I'm surprised you looked for me, honestly," Juli said. It seemed just barely worth saying. "I thought you'd chosen different priorities." Cobrak looked at her. "Ya think me priorities e'er shifted from me friends?" "It seemed that way when you chose to attack and nearly kill Allycia, who was under my protection, who I specifically asked you not to harm." Megeda was silent as he watched them finally speak of the matter that hung between them. Perhaps he thought that once they had it out, Juli would thaw, and start acting more like her former self. He didn't know that nothing would ever bring the old Juli back. "I kill void elves, thass fer sure," Cobrak said. "An' that willnae change one bit, wut I will say I didnae try ta kill that'un. Shapeshifter under tha employ o' tha Raven. Wanted you gunnin' fer me." Juli blinked once. Cobrak wouldn't lie. If he had been bold enough to attack Allycia, he would have looked her in the eye and told her so. Still, after a moment, Juli realized that this, like everything else, didn't matter. Though it had not then, if it ever did come down to it, Cobrak would do what he needed to. He was not really her friend. And she was not his if she could not accept that. "Well, I appreciate your efforts in looking for me," she said after a protracted pause. Cobrak looked like he was about to say something, but stopped himself, then said something else. "...Bah. Any case, yer back an' thass wut matters." He looked off to the sea. Maybe he was looking for a reason to believe that as the strain on the conversation grew too great. "I should be going," Juli said, then, politely, "It was nice catching up with you both." Cobrak reached into his pocket and produced something, which he handed over to her. "Here," he said. She took it and looked up at him. "It's ta me cabin in tha port. Ya ever need help, go thar an' stay as ya like." His words were a little strained, but he was determined to uphold this fallacy. He wanted to believe they were friends, that the camaraderie they had shared could be restored. He didn't see the truth of it like she did. Megeda was still watching her. Juli said, still politely, "Thank you." "Stay safe, Juli," Cobrak said. "Tha world's gotten only more dangerous." "Safe Journey, Liene... Azeroth needs all the help it can get," Megeda said. She gave her most honest reply yet in parting. "Safety is an illusion. Don't stay safe. Stay strong." She left. Once she was out of sight, she destroyed the hearthstone with a surge of Light and tossed the ruined rock in the water. [[ Written in conjunction with Cobrak and Tahzani. ]]
  20. 1 point
    She stepped off the boat and looked up, up, up, at the tiered and thickly floraed city. The air was heavy with humidity, so heavy that it had made her dizzy for a moment when she'd emerged from the ship cabin before she'd warded it off. The commingled foreign scents of rotting jungle and the unique culture of this city made the air even thicker. Around her moved crowds almost as dense, made up of many Zandalari trolls, but also Sin'dorei, orcs, Nightborne, Forsaken, and others, including a race of turtle-like people she had never seen before, and everywhere else she looked there were dinosaurs, used as beasts of burden and labor. Everything was different and exotic and strange. She barely spent a moment looking at it before turning to a dockworker. "Excuse me," she said politely. "Where can I find taverns?" The green-skinned troll had nearly two heads on her. Clearly taking a break, he stood leaning against a pallet of crates while smoking a foul-smelling herb, but responded with lucidity. "Ya be lookin' fo' de elf-like taverns, de sailormon taverns, o' de Horde soldier taverns?" He pointed in the direction of each as he spoke, three separate locations along the docks. She considered the options, then asked, "Which one has the most fighting?" The troll chuckled. "De second. Which loa do you bargain with?" He looked at her sword as he asked the question. Julilee put her hand on the hilt of Mercy. "None," she said, then, still just as politely, "Thank you for the advice." With that, she turned away to head in the direction he had indicated. "Paku watch over ya, richmon," he said, regarding her with a wary respect as she left.
  21. 1 point
    Down, deep within the sprawl of the Seal's halls, she found the banner the woman had described. An eager-eyed orc stood beside it, dressed in black chainmail with red accents. He addressed her the moment she was in range, before it was even reasonable to assume that his hall was her destination. "Throm-ka, paladin! The Reach could always use more of your kind. Have you come to enlist, following our recent victory?" She continued until she stopped in front of him, her gaze briefly moving to the banner. It was not far removed from the Kor'kron banner Shokkra had kept in her room. To the orc she said, "No, I'm looking for one of your members. Kex'ti, Kex'ti Dalendala." "Dalendala? Oh. Huh. Who're you to him?" the orc asked, hand on his pike. Juli paused, distinctly. Wasn't that quite the question. The answer she finally came up with was, "Julilee Liene. He'll know who I am." "Oh. Uh huh." The orc seemed to know what that meant. "Well, he's back about three torches on the left. Should be sparring with Tulip, Ochiga, Kaeeli, and Gorgath. I'll escort you." He added the very last sheepishly after Juli simply looked at him for a moment, since he stood blocking the doorway. "Thank you." The orc nodded. The thirst for drama was evident in his hurried pace as they entered the Warscar Reach barracks. Past the third torch, the hallway angled down to a veranda with overhanging vines. A sandy ring lay in the middle. A white-haired Sin'dorei stood in the center of the arena, a burly Blackrock orc and a lithe Nightborne strafing around him. He hadn't noticed the newcomers yet. "Think fast, old man!" yelled the Nightborne then, rushing in to take a swing at the back of the elf's head. The orc growled and charged in at the same time, low, aiming to tackle the elf's waist. Outside of the arena, a goblin kicked her feet on a planter, and a pandaren monk sipped at a cup of tea, cross-legged, as they watched the sparring match. Juli stood in the archway and observed. Kex'ti twisted lithely and leaned back to catch the Nightborne's fist, only to spy Julilee as he did so. A moment of confusion crossed his face. "Juli?" he muttered, then the orc's converted uppercut connected with his jaw. The phenomenal strike landed him in the Nightborne's arms, caught and hanging limply by the armpits. "Whoa, hey, wait a second!" called the goblin. "Kex'ti, you alright?" She hopped off the decorative container and walked over, summoning a few drops of healing rain onto the sand. "I wasn't expecting that to work!" boasted the orc. "But... are you okay?" Kex'ti never took his eyes off Juli. He spat some blood into the muddy dirt. "I am fine, everyone. Excuse me a moment." He held a hand to his cheek and began to mend the damage as he regained his feet. Then he walked calmly over towards her, limping only slightly. Juli stayed where she was, letting Kex'ti approach. Seeing him... It felt different. Everything was different now. It evoked feelings she wasn't allowed to have anymore. She found she didn't know what to say, and was silent. He looked different. He was dressed in sparring leathers in red and black. The red on black of his tabard looked out of place compared to the purple and gold he'd worn for so many years. His beard was much better kept, very close to the sides of his angular face. He'd lost a lot of weight. He'd never been fat, exactly, but it was clear the traveling with a military branch left little time for him to bulk up to his usual size, or perhaps the lack of quality food... None of it mattered. He was there. She was looking upon him. And she could tell him what she'd spent every day these past six months hoping she'd have a chance to say. "I see you have matched your hair to mine," he chuckled. She'd forgotten how different she looked, too. Her armor was no longer muted purple and gold, but white, dark gray, and gold, and lacking tabard, pauldrons, or shield. And her hair, long now, had become as white as his. The last changes she hadn't known about until she came across the mirror in the ruins. Her eyes no longer glowed green. They glowed gold. The differences were so striking that it was remarkable he had recognized her instantly. No one else would have. "Yeah, I guess." She paused. The words wouldn't come out, hardly. "I just wanted you to know I'm alive. I thought... You would want to know." "Should we go somewhere to talk?" he asked. "Probably." He raised a hand to his eyes and rubbed them. "Fine, let us head out to the general concourse." He walked past her, causing the orc guard, who had been hovering, to start hastily moving back toward his post. The goblin in the arena called after Kex'ti. "Uh, you want your staff?" "No, Tulip. I will not be long," he said, wearily. He glanced to Julilee, and nodded out back towards the humid mid-day heat.
  22. 1 point
    Juli didn't know what the Paku'ai were and didn't bother asking when it didn't seem like it would make itself obvious. It was a climb indeed but it didn't bother her. She had learned long ago that it didn't matter how slow your forward progress was as long as you kept moving forward. Endurance would win you any battle, eventually. At the Great Seal, a hall characterized by an ancient device that hung broken overhead, soldiers more than any others came and went. Juli knew them by the way they carried themselves, by the purpose with which they moved. Sprinkled amongst them were emissaries from the new lands: diminutive, foxlike people, a few snake-like ones, and the slow, wizened turtle-esque ones. Juli barely spared the unusual sights a glance as her gaze moved over the crowd, looking for a familiar face that did not materialize. She ended up wandering, and came to a field hospital. There, chants to the Loa, the Light, and other supernatural forces clamored for attention. A slight Sin'dorei woman, her ears evident through the cap she wore, tended to the wounded with pulses of mists. Her ministrations were gentle, hope blooming on the faces of those she tended. Juli thought of Kex'ti's less-than-tender healing as she watched and waited. After the monk finished tending to her last patient, Juli approached her. "Excuse me," she said, "have you seen another Sin'dorei monk around here? His name is Kex'ti... White hair, slight limp?" The woman nodded. "He was here right after landfall. Fell in with a division called the Warscar Reach. Black tabard, red Horde crest. Don't know where the Zandalari have garrisoned them, but should be somewhere near here, in the halls below the Seal." After a moment she added reflectively, "Proficient healer. Little sensitive about the quality of his work." "Warscar Reach," Juli repeated. Luck she had no right to had befallen her again. "Thank you." She went to turn away just as she had every time over the past three days. "Your spirit seems troubled," the woman spoke up. "It's not," Juli said, both politely and honestly, and left.
  23. 1 point
    The next morning she had stopped in Echo Isles to start searching for more information, and that's where she discovered two things: one, that it had been six months she had been gone, and two, the pleasant coincidence that a boat sailed from the Isles to Zuldazar every day. Thus she had ended up in the Zandalari capital city that very afternoon for the price of only two gold, her journey more direct than it had any right to be, though at that point she was on her own to figure out where to go from there. She'd only had the one idea of where to start looking for him. As she stepped into the sailors' tavern, she gave herself a moment to adjust to the interior. The tavern music was loud and heavy on the drums, but the addition of stringed instruments added a strangely elven vibe. Within, sailors threw knives at targets, quaffed drinks, and brawled. Most were Zandalari, but grizzled orcs staked their claim. In a corner, two goblins, a Farraki troll, and a single Forsaken were engaged in a game of cards, and laughed in unmistakable Orcish lilts. One of the goblins clutched her hair and bemoaned whatever she'd lost in the exchange. Juli was standing there, pondering whom to approach, when the female goblin noticed her and seemed to brighten with hope. "Hey! You!" she called to Juli. "You're a paladin, aintcha? I just lost my staff. Really, really a shame. Can barely call down the Light on my allies here. Mind helping a fellow girl out?" Not offering any corrections, Juli approached. "What do you need?" she inquired. "Just uh, you mind spotting me some coin? Just three gold, enough to buy back my staff." The female smiled coyly, batting her eyelashes. "I'll do anything you might need. Y'know, 'cause we're fellow travelers on the path of the Light." Juli reached into her satchel and pulled out her remaining three gold. "Just help me find someone. His name is Kex'ti. Sin'dorei, white hair, a little weathered, likes to punch and use the mists like a monk." The goblin quickly grabbed the three gold, but didn't hesitate to turn to her companions. Her voice, known to the other regulars, elicited attention as she spoke loudly. "Hey, any'a youse know anything about an old blood elf monk guy?" She set down the coins and pulled back an ornate, gaudy staff. "I've seen one or two," spoke up one of the orcs. "You might try checking up at the Great Seal." He addressed Juli. "Hell of a climb, 'specially in plate. Ask for one of the Paku'ai to send you up." If Kex'ti had kept to bartending, or underground fighting, these people would have known him. This Great Seal seemed like her only remaining lead, weak though it was. "Thank you," she said, and once more left without a backwards glance. "That's it?" Juli heard the goblin say, then, with a shrug in her voice, "All right, boys, buy me back in. I'm gonna win this one."
  24. 1 point
    She had gone to Ratchet, first. That was where he'd been the last time she'd seen him. She barely remembered the overland journey there, but remembered that the bartender had had to tell her twice that he had quit and gone off to join the war before it sank in. "What war?" she asked. "The Legion was defeated." The goblin gave her a look that said he was finding her more and more questionable in terms of sanity, intellect, or both. "With the Alliance? You know, after we burned down Teldrassil and they tried to take Undercity so we bombed it to plaguey smithereens?" She stood there, digesting that. Once, those two hefty pieces of news would have sent her into a tailspin. It would have changed everything. Now, she found they didn't matter. They just passed through her. It was noise, unimportant background. Her objective remained the same. "Where should I look for him?" "Uh, Zuldazar's where the Horde's operating out of, so start there, I guess?" The goblin was nothing more than that same background now, and she almost turned and walked away without a further word. But something stopped her. With an effort, she focused on the hesitation and identified it. It was that the goblin was a person, and you were supposed to treat people with respect. It had been so long since that had been relevant she'd forgotten it mattered. "Thank you," she said politely before she departed.
  25. 1 point
    Brinnea woke to a searing pain and a dull hunger. She lay in a simple cot with a scratchy blanket, but it may as well have been a cloud for how much she could feel of it. When she tried to move, her body rebelled and lay still. Her arm and leg itched furiously. She tried to scratch at her arm but found that her left hand was missing – as was her right arm. Memory flooded back along with another wave of pain. She didn’t bother trying to reach her itching phantom leg. “Brin, you’re awake,” a familiar voice said at her left side. Brin struggled just to turn her head and look. “Christa,” she rasped. Her sister. She stood by the bed looking haggard; her armor was dinted and dingy, her hair messy and overgrown, and her eyes were bloodshot and drooping. She was the most beautiful thing Brinnea had seen in months. Christa adjusted the covers on Brinnea’s body. “We don’t have a proper healer here for you,” she said, “But I plan on capturing some animals for you. It should help you get back to your feet.” She winced when she realized what she said. “Where are we?” Brinnea asked. “A small farmstead. The Silver Hand is helping the farmers get settled in safely. With the Forsaken distracted to the west and south, we finally have some breathing room to rebuild Lordaeron.” “The war still rages?” Brinnea wasn’t sure why she cared, but she asked anyway. “Yes, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. Sylvanas escaped when Lordaeron fell to the Alliance. Forsaken resistance is still strong in places. Not strong enough to kick up fuss about us knights.” “You remained neutral?” Christa nodded. “And I intend to stay that way. If we play our cards right, Andorhal might be free for human settlement again soon. I thought I might open an inn there if that happened.” “That would suit you,” Brin said. “I wish I could be there to see it.” “You aren’t dead yet, sister. Not truly.” “It’s only a matter of time. Besides, Andorhal won’t be a home for me. Only another place full of enemies.” “You don’t know that for certain,” Christa said, but she didn’t sound like she believed herself. When Brinnea was silent for a long while, Christa stood to take her leave. “Thank you,” Brinnea said. “Christa, thank you.” She opened the door and replied without looking back, “It’s what sisters are for, aren’t they?”
  26. 1 point
    Suramar City was rotting away with unrest, this was undeniable. After the invading armies of the Outlanders had been lost to the might of Grand Magistrix Elisande’s magics, she had become much more ruthless. Deserters were dealt with extreme prejudice, those who remained loyal garnered more affluence to abuse the public with. Just as it was tonight. Here within the canals of the Terrace of Order where a group of Spellblades threatened the life of a suspected Dusk Lily rebel. “Dearest Marquette,” sneered the captain as her phantasmal blade of energy loomed before her victim’s neck. She was flanked by three of her followers upon either side. “I thought we exiled you last time, left to wither away like the miserable little cretin you are. Whatever are you doing in front of us now?” Before the cornered and accused could respond, another Spellblade moved casually toward the gathering and cleared her throat. Azure-tinted white hair was pulled back into a harsh bun. A scowl on her perfectly-painted lips, she looked like a harsh mother that had come across her child doing something she didn’t approve of in the slightest. “Surely,” Pelande spoke, “you aren’t planning to make a mess.” A snort. “And I don’t just mean for the street cleaners. Interrogations without recording pertinent information? Executions without magistral approval?” She shook her head. “The Grand Magistrix might suspect you have your own agenda.” “Piss off.” The captain of this septet spoke as her eyes inspected the newcomer. Marquette, whom the blade remained pointed on, slowly tried to scoot away upon the floor. “Mind your own patrol, unless you really want a mess made?” As if on cue the flanks started to move to show just how much they meant business. “You’re not alone, P.” The soft voice of the woman garbed in a veiling illusion whispered, “Just remember we need them intact if we’re going to steal their likeness.” The nod she performed passed as acknowledgement to both those in front of her and the unseen elf. She moved her hands into view, but stood her ground. “No need for savagery. I just want to make sure we’re not all bogged down with extra paperwork. I mean, I’d just hate to think all the rumors about you were true, Captain Ludrissra.” “Tsk. You talk too much.” Ludrissra’s attention was now fully upon Pelande, granting Marquette a chance to flee. “Detain our intruder, she’s likely with them.” “Um… P…?” Pelande cursed softly, following up with a quick instruction. “Behind them.” It was very swiftly turning into an unavoidable fight. Pelande hoped Marquette had enough sense to get away while she could, and that her companion had the sense to cut off any that tried to pursue. “Fine, fine.” She said aloud, meandering verbally to buy the rogue the precious seconds she needed. “It’s fine. I’ve never been good at pretending I’m all high and mighty with an ass that smells like roses.” In a singular motion she freed her hair from the bun and took her spear from her back, charging rather than letting them make the first move. It was met with a just-in-time block from her opponent and she was quickly stepping back to avoid an attack from another. As long as she kept their focus, her partner could act freely-- given her strikes were true. Her partner teleported behind their primary target with a small arcane pop, slinging her razor-like blade into the opening upon the Spellblade Captain’s back. As the dagger sunk into Ludrissra’s flesh, Isabaele realized she had missed the spine. This wouldn’t be as quick as either of them wanted, but no matter. The shadow magic that lingered would still prove useful. “What the-- Dammit all!” Screamed the Captain. She pulled away from her attacker, forcing the rogue to relinquish the shadow laden blade that still remained. “Protect me, idiots!” Pelande was busy taking the butt of a polearm to the chin when she heard it, and staggering when she saw the attention of all but one of the group leave her. Her thoughts raced as she wiped away the droplet of blood from her lips, carelessly smearing the heavy makeup. She could probably kill this one on her own. That would leave the rogue to handle the rest. But, Isabaele wasn’t clad in armor that exceeded her own weight, or hardened by millenia of servile labor. The girl was quick, that much was sure, but this was hardly the time to test her. Pelande instead slammed her boot into the street with thunderous force, destabilizing the ground beneath them all. That was enough to make them hesitate at least as they debated which of the duo was the true threat. And that heistation would be their downfall. Isabaele abandoned Captain Ludrissra to the afflictions of the shadow laced dagger, moving with another arcane pop to appear behind one of the more aggressive of the guards. As he raised his glaive to strike, the rogue’s blade found its mark with a flick of her wrist. She nicked one of his arteries, the blood loss would claim his life soon. One of the guards moved rather deftly and sought to cut the rogue off and strike her from below, but she fast found herself on the ground, facefirst, delivered and then skewered there by a sweep and then a piercing blow from Pelande’s spear. A sharp kick freed the weapon from the soon-to-be corpse. She moved her weapon behind her, the bloodied point downwards, inviting the next attack her way, and the smile on her face was more genuine than any she’d given during her failed performance. “Two down.” Isabaele leapt over the body when Pelande was done with it, “And thanks!” Her dagger pointed its shadow-laced tip at the next lackey of the Captain. He blocked. No matter, she was fast enough to correct her trajectory. Sliding under the man’s legs, she kicked at the back of his knees to create her opening for another execution. The blood spraying over her dark leather armor. “Guess that’s three?” A glaive swung at Pelande; she brought her own spear up in a block, and the two began a brief dance. Block, block, parry, block, parry… but as soon as the warrior saw her opening, she took it, twisting her opponent’s weapon right out of her hands and piercing her throat. Now both intruders were making a mess. “Four,” she amusedly shot back, unable to even remember the last time she’d experienced such excitement. “Neat, we’ve hit the halfway mark!” Isabaele dodged a glaive that came down in response of the blood end of the guard’s comrade. Instead the guard maimed the corpse, ruining it for their own uses. “Ooh. Someone’s mad.” Her turn. The thin woman used this opening to send her blade through the soft underside of her attacker’s chin. “No worries! You’ll be with him soon.” A wink, a twist, and then a retrieval of the blade. “Hey P, think you can clean up this last one yourself?” “Yea.” “Thanks, I have a blade to retrieve.” But that last one wasn’t charging, rather he seemed torn between fighting and fleeing, hands tight on his weapons and gaze shifting from Ludrissra (with more fear than concern, Pelande noted) to the attackers. The warrior watched him at the ready. He made a break for it. Her smile wavered; he couldn’t be allowed to leave, and she took no joy in murder. The excitement ended on a morose note as she cut his escape short and silenced his cry before he could give it. Leaving the last of the lackys for her stronger companion, the rogue teleported behind their primary target once more. “Miss me?” She looked down at her prey who was still desperately trying to remove the agonizing blade from her shoulder. The spell was waning, but that didn’t matter. The rogue’s leather glove firmly grasped at the Captain’s jaw to hold her in place, forcing her to look at Pelande with a look of terror as the blade rested upon her neck--a look that was only met by the warrior’s disgust. “...N-no… please…” Her begging was cut short with a simple incision. The blood flowed like a fountain from her severed veins before she was released from the rogue’s grasp. The still bloodied blade returned to its sheath. Pelande ran a messy hand through her hair, looking round as she walked back to Isabaele and Ludrissra, “Could’ve been worse.” “Yeah, the right people are dead and we’re still alive.” Isabaele kneeled before the corpse of Captain Ludrissra as she took out a small pouch from her armor. Her fingers gently went inside and pulled a ring from within before she offered the bag to her companion as her smile continued. “What do you say we wrap up and call this mission a success?” Her adrenaline wearing off, she smeared away more of her itchy, smelly makeup. Multicolored fingers accepted the pouch and gripped it tight. “The sooner the better. I feel stupid.” She gestured to the elaborate armor. “Don’t be like that, you look nice.” Isabaele smiled, looked up at her companion and slipped the ring upon the corpse’s finger. Over the next few moments the magic within the ring absorbed the information needed, “Remember, we can only use those whose bodies are still intact enough for the illusion.” Pelande gazed around at their mess once more. She’d forgotten about that rule some ways into the fray, and it showed. Still, there had to be at least one. After turning over a couple and grimacing she found it; the woman she’d stabbed in the back. She knelt. Of course she had a familiar face. They all did. It wasn’t as if she knew any of their names off the tip of her tongue, but millenia of being a contained community meant there were no strangers among them. She placed the ring on the dead woman’s finger, rose, and began looking for another, idly tapping the pouch against her hip. When the process was complete, Isabaele removed the the ring and set it within another one of her pouches. She stood up and looked up and down the canal. An empty gondola rounded the corner, ripe for capture. The rogue threw a grappling hook to ground it. As she prepared the ritual to commandeer the small boat she looked back at the warrior for a moment. “When you’re done all we have to do is load up the bodies for disposal and get out of here.” “Right,” Pelande replied, setting about the conclusion of their grisly labor.
  27. 1 point
    The Exodar: At last there was a response on his hearthstone, an unfamiliar woman's smoke-roughened voice gave a quivering reply. "Are you, Aruku?" "Yes, where's Janala?!" A pause, then, "I'm... I'm sorry. We got trapped in the burrows. My child and I, she shared her hearthstone with us. We all tried to use, but she didn't... make it." Janala's hearthstone had been set to their home, here on Azuremyst. The bottom dropped out of his previously clenched stomach, leaving him feeling cold and alone. They were gone, his wife and his unborn daughter both. "... Hello?" It took him a long moment to regain enough composure to reply, voice thick with emotion, "Thank you, for letting me know." Long ears wilted and shoulders drooping he stared at what was now the funeral pyre for two of his loved ones, along with many other unfortunates. Some time later his kids found him, having come up to see as well. They all hugged one another, a small family group among the crowd of many. "Where's mom?" One of them asked timidly, afraid of the answer. Looking at the kids surrounding him the young man swallowed his feelings, forcing them to the back and locking them away. Vemy was right, he was going to be needed even more right now. They all were. "Don't worry, I'm sure she's fine. She's a druid, she can fly, remember?" Forcing a smile he tried to reassure the kids and keep them calm. Once they weren't needed for the injuries coming from Darnassus, then they could mourn. "But there's gonna be a lot of people from the big tree who'll need our help, so let's go back inside and start, aye?" Giving each a kiss and hug he went back inside with them, dropping them off on the way to the clinic. When he came back the elf was no longer smiling. Instead a subdued, grim person returned and went quietly to work, eyes hollow with pent up loss. Finishing his shift with Vemy he saw her off, then went back in to keep working. Sanjay seemed to have the same idea. The monk had not left the hospital since he returned to the Exodar, and had worked through several assistants in the whirlwind days since. He adopted Aruku during nightly rounds and forced a cup of tea into the elf’s hand. “If you intend to stay and you wish to be useful, you will drink that and steel yourself,” he says. Aruku didn't balk and simply drank the tea, not noticing the taste at all. "Alright." He couldn't sleep anyways. Being assistant to Sanjay kept him occupied and they worked together in quiet accord. It was like a grim test of stamina between the two as they settled into a work rhythm. Working their way through the next few days without sleep and only taking breaks for necessities the pair efficiently treated as many victims and refugees as they could; mostly those folk from Teldrassil or near it who had gotten 'lucky' in escaping via means other than the portal to Stormwind. Azuremyst was the nearest safe port for anyone without teleportation. It was dawning on the third day after the tragedy when the thin blood elf finally collapsed between one step and the next, having driven himself to his limits. Strain lined his face even while unconscious, leaving him looking worn out and used up. With all the beds in the clinic and its overflow area filled it ended up being Vemy who took the exhausted young man home and put him in bed there. With her husband gone there was plenty of room for a scrawny elf and between her shifts she took care of him too. ----------------------------------- Resting he might be in bed but Aruku's mind was fitful, struggling to make sense of everything that had happened. The Horde set fire to Teldrassil, a World tree. Those damn stupid orcs, those hateful undead. Why had no one stopped it? Why had no one stood up? What had the Tauren been doing with all their Earthmother talk? The blood elves should have known destroying a magical world tree was bad! Even the goblins should have recognized that Teldrassil was more profitable existing than being ashes! …. did those in the Horde he had counted as friends, had they been part of this? Had people he'd healed been the cause of this suffering? Even unprovoked, the Horde would attack and kill. They might as well be The Grim. He could feel bitterness replacing the emptiness inside of him, that once had held such love for everyone and everything. Was this how the world had always been, and the Light had just made him blind to it? Without Janala he alone had to raise all these kids; find a way to support, feed and clothe them. Bitterness sparked anger, helplessness turned into frustration. Without magical talent, physical prowess or mental sharpness how was he supposed to do that? Alchemy made some gold, but all the best herbs were in dangerous places. And worst of all he looked like a Horde. Aruku was almost tempted to fix that by embracing the Void but some lingering bit of self preservation kept him from doing it. With the state of mind he was in he'd be lost to it immediately. Driven with no goal he rose, mechanically taking his hearthstone to set up a place for his kids to be taken care of while he lost himself in trying to find a new path to follow, a reason to continue.
  28. 1 point
    ((Takes place before the War of Thorns)) Gentle waves lapped up a short slightly pebbly beach, the small shallow passageway between the two islands deflecting any of the larger waves from the Veiled Sea. While there wasn't as much sand to run around on in this eastern inlet there were more things of interest to kids; like the scattered seashells, small crawlers in the water and tall hardy sea grasses lining the edge of the beach. Soft puffy clouds drifted lazily overhead, the sea was a muted aqua and the light refreshing scent of surrounding pines pleasant accented the salty breeze. Schools of Red Snapper darted away from the herd of kids playing noisily in the water's edge as Aruku watched from shore, keeping a closer eye on the youngest toddler who was playing with some shells and rocks near the water's edge. Besides being closer to home and more entertaining to the kids, he'd chosen the less popular shore to avoid any of the local Draenei asking why there was a blood elf on Azuremyst. While they'd gotten permission for him to stay at home, it didn't mean the locals were comfortable with it. But the less they saw him, the less trouble there would be. It had been a few weeks since Niala had helped him return from The House. Once away from the stresses of that place the young man had been able to eat more regularly and properly, regaining some strength and health. In that time he'd talked with Janala, his wife and finalized the plans for their family moving. The large sword that had gotten stabbed into Azeroth and the disturbances in nature Janala felt since then helped finally decide them on moving to Shattrath, off world. There were also rumors of tension between the factions flaring up again, making the neutral city even more of an appeal. So Aruku stayed home, watching and caring for the kids which uplifted his heart whenever he started growing morose thinking back on certain irrefutable things the House had made more apparent about Baal'themar and Syreena. Meanwhile Janala took almost daily trips to the site they'd picked out, just up against Shattrath's outside walls in Terokkar Forest growing and shaping a tree to be their new home. He'd have to remember to write letters to his friends to inform them of the new house and ask for assistance with the move on moving day once it was ready. Lightly shaking his head of the thoughts the redheaded blood elf turned and packed up the remainder of the picnic brought with them, which reminded him of all the packing they still needed to do at home. Getting the kids to pack their things was a chore in an of itself, but they'd done some so today was a treat-break from it. Finished gathering up what he'd brought out with them the golden eyed elf turned, cupping his hands to his mouth and hollering to the kids, “Time t' pack up! We're goin' home!” As expected this was met with groaning and moaning about wanting to stay out longer and deliberately dragging feet as they made their way to shore. But Aruku didn't give in as he went to gather up Jess'an, the youngest from the shoreline. The rest of the kids went to their little collection piles of special pebbles, shells and other bits of treasures found at the beach, picking them up to bring home with them as mementos of their first home. Several minutes of corralling later the herd and Aruku were headed through the sea grasses and into the pine forest. Things would work out better at the new place, they could have friends from both sides visit with ease and being so close to the major city Janala would be able to travel to Darnasses daily for her work and return home. And being so close to a Naaru, maybe Aruku could spend the time relearning the Light again. Optimistically Aruku escorted the kids home, the late afternoon sun coloring everything warmly and lighting the meadows in the thin forest. Off to the northwest out of the inlet, framed by the trees of Amenvale and Azuremyst Teldrassil glowed softly blue, reassuring in the horizon's haze. ((To be Continued))
  29. 1 point
    Lor'Danel was falling, the last defense before the Horde reached Teldrassil. Pressing her lips together grimly the green haired night elf surveyed the map and markers of her family's assets. People, goods, equipment, knowledge stores; it was too much to move at once but if they could just move things that couldn't be taken now into hiding, they could be retrieved under the noses of the Horde during occupation of the city. Her people were skilled at that. Snapping out orders and arranging plans to the best of her ability she sent clan members out of the hidden burrows with missives, knowing they were racing against time with their lives on the line. Not enough time, never enough time. Janala felt like she was always trying to beat time; first in her own life, then in her husband's life, now for all of her clans' family's' lives. She'd won the first two of those, now... There was a little shudder in the ground under her feet. It'd not been long enough, by her estimations only the most essential things had been moved and non-essential family members should just be packing up or heading out now. Looking about the empty burrow alcove she slowly walked out, her pregnancy slowing her down. She should be leaving soon as well, once everyone had their orders. Giving a little harrumph at the idea of having to use a beast for transportation instead of shifting forms as she usually did the young lady rubbed her rounded abdomen, smiling softly as she murmured reassurances to the baby girl within. Up ahead she could hear running, stumbling footsteps coming towards her. Frowning Janala started at her slow pace up the passageway, stopping when she saw a panicked mother and child round the bend. These clan members were not the ones she expected to see. “Teldrassil...” gasps out the other lady, tears welling up in her eyes. “It's burning! We... we're trapped!” Hugging her young child tightly she trembled. Pursing her lips Janala tried to stay calm, someone had to have a cool head here. “We will exit the burrow and get the nearest Hippogryph, there should...” she was cut off by the other lady's wail. “No, we're trapped, in the burrow! Fire's everywhere outside, in the entrance...” Shaking her head she sobbed, already the smell of smoke was drifting down from the passageway up. Violet skin blanched in color as understanding set in. Placing a hand on the other lady's back she rubbed and asked softly, “Honey, is anyone else in here with us?” A 'no' shake of the head was the reply given. Options were quickly becoming slim. Awkwardly standing there trying to soothe one of her subordinate's and her crying child Janala had many thoughts running through her mind. There was one way out but it wouldn't take all of them, even this small of a group. Selfishly she had wanted to use it for herself to get out just before the Horde came in. It'd take her to her home on Azuremyst, where she could be with her children and her loving husband. Her eyes softened as she thought of them and him, then looked down at the two next to her. She knew what Aruku'd do, crazy as it was. And she knew how he'd feel if he knew she didn't try to save these two when she saved herself. Giving a sad little smile Janala settled heavily next to the pair with a little 'ooopf,' taking and drawing their hands into her own. “Do not cry, everything is going to be alright sweeties.” With one hand the druidess reached into a bag at her side, withdrawing a hearthstone. “This is not set to Darnassus, this will take you to my home on Azuremyst.” “I.. we couldn't you're Head of...” “Shhhh,” Giving the two a reassuring smile she placed the stone into the middle of their joined hands, “We will just see how many it can take at once, perhaps Elune will bless our trip.” With a deep breath she made up her mind. Please Elune, let this work. “Be sure to hold on tightly, ok?” When she'd gotten nods of agreement and saw hope in their eyes the three of them held onto the hearthstone, practically covering its surface with their hands. Smoke wafting in thickened as Janala traced the rune to activate the teleportation device, a soft green glow issuing forth from between the group's hands. Reaching out it enveloped them, whisking away to safety those who had previously been without hope. As the green glow disappeared, only Janala was left behind in the otherwise empty burrow corridor. Gently lowering her hands onto her rounded stomach she began to sing softly, strangely at ease with her fate but still mourning for her child to be. You had your whole life ahead And that I took away from you Was it selfish of me to decide this To save lives precious to another? I wish I could have shown the joys and wonders of the world to you Held your perfect little hands in mine and shared in your triumphs as you grew. But it shall never pass now so to you I give a lullaby, a story of the place where we lived and shall die. In purity, all things are born. The eldest tree was once a tender sapling, And even the stars were young. O Lady Elune, Weep tears so sweet At the thought of the innocence That once was ours. The huntress' horn has sounded! To battle, it calls us now, To the defense of all we hold dear: This city, This well of the moon, This soft song of the evening breeze. it calls us, And we answer. The jewel of our city Lies within their craven grasp. One last time, we shall stand. One final act, we shall perform By the light of the moons, By the flash of our blades, By the song of our arrows, We shall triumph-- Or we shall fall. The tree has fire for leaves And skeletons for branches And its roots feed only upon The ashes of the dead. The winds that sigh through it now are the cries of the dying And this daughter, This lament For horrors unspeakable, For cruelty unimaginable, For this life and the beauty and the grace that once were And shall never be again. By the moons' glow, listen. Beside the river, listen. Holding those you live, listen: To the cries of the dying, To the whisper of the wind over the silent dead, To the song my broken heart will ever sing Of the story of the Tree of the World And the death of all the dreams It once cradled in its mighty boughs. -----------------------------------------------
  30. 1 point
    Things continued that way for some time. The routine changed when Sanjay returned with the new patients and healers. The clinic exploded in size and began to resemble a true hospital, albeit with few real walls or beds. Though it was easy to get lost in the tangled mass of wounded, sick, and healers, Aruku found himself constantly working alongside Vemynisa. Every day they grew more in-sync, able to assist one another with barely a word spoken between them. The Draenei spoke to the elf freely about nearly anything, and was an attentive listener when Aruku spoke. While Aruku didn't seem to think the near constant presence of Vemy was odd, he did end up opening up and relaxing around her more, acting more his normal self. That came with both raunchy jokes, casual flirting & talk of his family, at least as far as she was comfortable with. One of their break conversations over hot beverages; coffee for Vemy, tea for Aruku; turns to baking plans to treat the staff. Both of them have spouses who are hazards in the kitchen so it'd be a nice change of pace to make food with someone else... and maybe afterwards they can enjoy one another's company in a different way. Before more plans are made Sanjay bursts into the room, clenching his jaw with iron strength. “Those damn maniacs...you two haven’t heard yet, have you?” He glances between the two, his eyes stern and angry, but underneath the anger there lies something Aruku has never seen in Sanjay before. Fear. Puzzlement and worry showed on the thin man's face, and by the lack of reaction it was evident before he even spoke that he hadn't heard. "What happened?" While his mind flew through several thoughts he wasn't about to presume what it might be yet. “It’s Teldrassil,” the monk says, “The Horde set fire to it. The entire tree is ablaze.” Vemynisa gasps. She puts a hand over her mouth. “By the Naaru...” Aruku stared blankly at Sanjay for a long moment, his mind refusing to grasp what the words meant. Teldrassil couldn't be completely on fire, it was giant! When Sanjay's expression didn't change his golden eyes grew wide in alarm and he spun to dash for the door. While recklessly speeding off he dug out his hearthstone, trying to reach his wife in Darnassus to let her know if she didn't already. Sanjay sidesteps, still cursing under his breath. Vemynisa leaps to her hooves and races after the elf. "Aruku!" she calls after him, "I--I think we're going to need you even more now..." She fidgets nervously. Too wrapped up in the panic of trying to make sure his wife was alive and safe, and needing to see this with his own eyes the blood elf bolted out of the clinic and across the Exodar. It seemed everyone was still in a bit of shock at the news so he managed to exit unhindered, panting as he passed through the bits of wall around the city till he could get a view of Teldrassil. Already there was dark smoke making a smudge on the sky in that direction, under lit by an angry orange light. He wasn't the only one out here either. Others had come out to stare in horrified disbelief to the north east. Men, women, young, old, all were gathered in an eerie quiet vigil only broken by sobbing here and there.
  31. 1 point
    As with most such things everything had started out fine. Time had come around for the visit to the Exodar Sanjay had said he'd work on getting through for Aruku. As Janala was off in Outlands working on growing their new home that meant the young blood elf had brought along the entire entourage of half-breed children with him to visit, much to the dismay of his host Sanjay. Fortunately the human's working partner Ingrid, an easygoing dwarf lady was delighted by the additions. Dropping the kids off at their friends was uneventful enough and allowed Aruku to pay attention when he was brought over and shown about the human monk's pride and joy in the Crystal Tier: 'The Sands of Time Healing Clinic.' Tucked in a back corner it was a modest establishment but homey. It wasn't long before the blood elf had been introduced to most the workers and had waded in with Sanjay to lend a hand, having some casual.... ok, maybe not so casual conversation. But before the talk could get more awkward and uncomfortable... “Sanjay!” Ingrid cried as she burst into the room, looking panicked. “There’s been an attack in Kalimdor! The Horde is marching on Darkshore!” Those words marked the end of the pleasant trip, and the beginning of working full shifts along with the others in the clinic as they received injuries that couldn't be taken care of out in the field. Sanjay left to go to the warfront, leaving Ingrid in charge. Temporary beds and rooms were set up outside and still there was concern of not having enough space to handle it if things got worse. Everyone in the city was pitching in in their own ways, even the older kids were being sent on tasks and given responsibilities around the Exodar. Aruku's wife, Janala had returned to Darnassus and was doing work she could what with being in the late stages of her pregnancy. Mostly giving orders and handling the Shadowblade family's organization to this crisis, or at least that's what Aruku understood of it. The week rushes by at a blinding speed. Injured soldiers and civilians run through the clinic like a river of blood, and in the thick of the tide stand Aruku, Ingrid, and Vemynisa. Ingrid mostly operates on her own, leaving Aruku and the Draenei woman to work together most of the week. She’s quiet mainly, and her thoughts seem preoccupied. Yet she always seems strangely close to Aruku. Every so often their hands brush against one another and she rushes to hide her blushing face. When she does speak to him, she always seems out of breath and flustered. Between treating the injuries, grabbing bites to eat here and there and the tiredness at the end of the long shifts, Aruku couldn't find a good time to ask Vemy about her shy reactions to him. His golden eyes ask questions but there never seems to be a free moment to put voice to it. When a full week has passed, Vemy finds Aruku in the break room with a roll of paper in hand. “I have something for you,” she says. Hearing her words and seeing the paper his heart jumped in his chest. He'd nearly forgotten his pass here was only for a week, was this an order for him to leave? Worried he raised his golden eyes to meet the draenei lady's, "Is it good, or bad news?" "That depends on you. I spoke with the ambassador's office, and convinced them to extend your visit indefinitely to assist with wartime treatments." She hands him the scroll, sealed with the pink and gold seal of the Prophet. Her hand lingers by his a moment before she promptly retreats a couple steps. The thin man's eyes grow big as he looks at the seal then up at her. Questions come out as incredulity and relief fight for space on his features, "I can stay?" The rhetorical inquiry was quickly followed by, "You did this for me?" Vemy opens her mouth, closes it, then clears her throat and says, “I did it for the sick and wounded of this war. They need your help — our help.” While he might not be quick on other things, social things he was decent at. Giving Vemy a soft smile despite the tiredness from the long week of work he took the few steps over to her and gave her a quick, strong hug of thanks. "Yer a nice gal, ya know that?" Vemynisa freezes at the embrace. Her face flushes a deep blue color, which she tries to hide with her facial tentacles. "You...you're not bad," she manages with a cough. Giving one final squeeze he lets her go, a hint of mischief twinkling in his eyes as he looks up at her. "Thanks cutie." Her blush transcends embarrassment. This time she reaches out to pat his cheek. “It—it was my pleasure,” she says awkwardly before clopping out of the break room. Smiling after the nice lady (and view) exiting the room he took a seat, happy she had willingly touched him at last without moving away. Breaking the seal open on the paper he read over it, more of a formality since Vemy had told him what was inside already. At least something good had happened.
  32. 1 point
    As Pelande passed through the portal, the sights that greeted her were not what a Shal’dorei would consider pleasant. She was underground, in some ancient ruin of a circular room with high ceilings-- it looked like it possibly predated Suramar’s sealing.It all bore the familiar trappings of Suramar’s architecture but had undergone none of the meticulous maintenance. Still, it held together by virtue of its craftsmanship. There wasn’t much in terms of furniture, nor did there seem to be any natural way out. As the portal closed behind her she was trapped. The third time, by her count. Though less than pleased by this, Pelande kept her composure. “You made it.” The Eyeless commander noted, his tone flat. It was hard to get a read on the man. His head canted towards the female that had stood next to him before they departed and gave a simple command--“Pour her a drink.”--and the other Nightborne got to work immediately. Pelande set her spear aside, upright against the nearby wall, and pointedly stepped out of reach of it. A show of trust to accompany the direct inquiry, “What are you?” “A weapon against the Legion.” The Commander motioned towards the table. There were too few chairs to seat all those she had seen at the ambush. In fact there were far too few people in this room. There were dozens during the conflict, now there were but four excluding her. Scanning the room, she took this to be a council of some kind. A marksman, a man in robes next to what looked like a now inactive telemancy beacon, the female who was pouring the drink, and this demonic outlander who was seating himself. For a brief second she became anxious of her unkempt state. But the others seemed either not to notice, or simply didn’t care. “That’s not much of an answer,” she replied, settling into a chair. “but if you don’t want to tell me, that’s fine. You fight them; that’s all that’s important.” The ordeals began to catch up to her-- just the simplicity of sitting down was such a massive relief. Pelande let out a long breath. “So… how do we do it?” “First, you drink.” Before he finished the sentence, a mug of Arcwine was placed before the woman. The timing was eerie for a man who shouldn’t be able to see. “You are worthless to me if you Wither. Where the First Arcanist uses her rebels as an army and to inspire, we are more… specialized.” Pelande swept the cup into her hands and it was at her lips before she knew it. Her eyes opened in shock, but their illumination was already stronger than it’d been in weeks. She looked to the cup and shivered. Had she really just behaved like a starved animal in front of these strangers? Swallowing heavily, Pelande set the emptied cup back down. She tried to shift focus back to the conversation with a shaken laugh. “Extremists, then?” “Some would say so, but those would not understand the nature of war.” The Commander shrugged. “Sometimes a dagger can slip through one's armor with more ease than a sword or hammer. We give the Loyalists pause as they exploit your city, we create those openings the Dusk Lilies need by getting our hands dirty. In turn, by killing those who sell their own to the Legion, we save lives.” Idly, she tapped the side of the cup with her fingernails and let her thoughts run freely off her tongue. “They make me sick, these Shal’dorei that would rather be the kings and queens of ruins than fight. We didn’t survive all this time just to lose Suramar like this. Death is better than they deserve but all we can give them.” She looked to him curiously. There was much she wanted to ask, but wasn’t sure how to. “Does your cause have a name?” “I’ve not seen a point in naming our little group in hopes of keeping us more anonymous. But… the public has deemed otherwise and have named us for the weapons we leave as a warning for those who betray your people to the Legion. We are known as ‘the Ebonfeathers’.” Maela would probably find all this informality uncouth, but Pelande was feeling refreshed by it. After so many millenia, here she was in a new place. Speaking with new people, finding a new path, following a new set of rules... even if she wasn’t sure what they all were yet. It didn’t matter, she said to herself. As long as she was fighting the Legion, the anger that had festered for ten thousand years would find its outlet. She spoke with a smile. “As I said before, my weapon is yours. If you’d have it I would call myself an Ebonfeather.” “Then you are in luck, as we do have an opening.” His tone betrayed no hints as to how genuine he was being. “You made your choice when you stepped through that portal. Before we talk about your first mission; you should know that as one of us, our resources are available to you. This includes wine, our beacon, arms and armor-- tell me what you need and I’ll see to it.” “Some plate and a proper spear is all I could ever want--” She paused, “and, rations of wine, naturally.” This last part was spoke with a touch of shame, quickly masked with a clearing of the throat. “From there just tell me what to skewer… er...” Pelande trailed off, blinking… and then laughed. “...it just occured to me. I don’t know what to call you yet.” “Kal’une Danteur will do for now. As for your mission, you come to us at a critical conjecture. The First Arcanist marched three elven nations worth of armies into Elisande’s trap, including my ‘Brother’ who tried to warn them. This has left the rebellion in shorter numbers than we would prefer, so we will have to supplement for them. And while we don’t have the time to forge you into a weapon such as myself, I know where to find my Illidari brethren. The problem is, we need to get them inside the city undetected.” He motioned for the other woman to take a seat next to their newest recruit. “And that is where the two of you come in. We’re going to locate select targets, and replace them with those designed to Slay rather than Serve.” ‘Forge’ her. Did that mean turning her into something as twisted as himself? She didn’t care for the idea, but if he said it wasn’t happening it shouldn’t matter. But assassinating those that had turned their backs on her people? He didn’t have to ask her twice. It was apparent that he was moving his pieces into place. To what exact end, Pelande couldn’t see--she didn’t have much of a mind for planning, and the more she knew the more of a liability she’d be. She’d taken a leap of faith, and now this was the only solid ground left in sight, the only island in the storm. She had to trust in this man. With her bridges burning behind her, it was easier than expected. “Whatever it takes to liberate Suramar, Commander Danteur.”
  33. 1 point
    ((The storyline is still wrapping up a few loose threads in Discord, but here's a post about The Grim losing their long-time guildhall in Brill as a result of it.)) By now, everyone has surely heard about the Battle of Lordaeron. The Alliance forces overtook the place, swarming through the ruins like rats scurrying through a tomb. The Warchief had no choice but to call for her Horde forces to retreat. When Baine sounded the retreat, the Commander of The Grim gave the order for his members to fall back to the Grim’s halls in Brill to defend their base there. They broke off from the rest of the Horde and headed for where the Gallow’s End Tavern once stood. The town was already in ruin, and the secret entrance to the Grim’s headquarters was exposed. After the Mandate’s followers were inside, the door was sealed with magic and stone. Some Alliance, namely the Twilight Empire, saw The Grim breaking off the main group of Horde and pursued. It did not take them long to break through the barriers at the entrance of the guildhall, and soon members bearing the colors of Twilight Empire clashed with those of The Grim just inside the entrance. Meanwhile, other Grim were deeper in the catacombs, retrieving documents and artifacts and other important items. Eventually, knowing they were outnumbered with all the Alliance outside, Awatu, the Grim Commander, gave the order for the Grim to abandon their guildhall of many years and find their way to safety. Most of the Grim exited the halls through portals, summons, and back exits. A few remained to stall the Alliance intruders for a few more precious moments, sacrificing themselves so the others could get out. Grim who spoke about the whole incident had varying emotions. Some were angry, some were indifferent. “It was… not unexpected, considering the result of the Ashenvale offensive,” Commander Awatu Stonespire of The Grim said. “While effective, the Warchief continues to make… questionable tactical decisions. As for the loss of the Halls, they are simply rooms and corridors. We can rebuild and rejoin the war effort. We lost a battle, but a war still needs to be fought.” Commander Stonespire has since called for the search of a suitable location for a new Grim guildhall. High Inquisitor Qabian Grimfire had a bit more than that to say on the subject. “Our guild hall was a stuffy, gloomy place that wasn’t worth spending any more time in than absolutely necessary, but it was useful enough with its history and its use as a gathering point that it was frequently absolutely necessary. Gathering points are easy enough to replace, but the history we built is gone. “Perhaps on some level it was inevitable that Stormwind would try to reclaim Lordaeron from the people who paid the price of their very lives to remain in their own homeland,” Qabian continued. “Humans have always been idiotic on the basest of levels, prone to taking things that don’t belong to them. However, I for one am convinced that they never would have had the courage to march through Tirisfal and ruin the lives we’d built if it weren’t for the things I’m hearing about the reappearance of a Menethil. “The individuals who chased us through and ransacked the place we had made ours, on the other hand,” Qabian went on some more, “I believe did so for deeply personal reasons, because they took offense to the various effects the Mandate had on their lives. That also has an edge of inevitability. The Mandate is not in the business of diplomacy or goodwill. We will always make the kind of enemies who would gladly end our lives with their own hands, and if they are given the opportunity to exploit any weaknesses we may suffer, as the Battle for Undercity provided them, they will never hesitate to strike. Never doubt that for a moment. Therein lies the importance of seeing the Mandate through to its ultimate goal. Should we fail, our survival, as individuals, as a collective, as nations, as the Horde itself, all of it is on the line.” Aureilya Raindawn, Keeper of Grim scrolls and documents, scowled when asked about it. “It matters not,” she said. “Let them have the blight infested land, it’s worthless to them anyway. It doesn’t matter to the Mandate what location we hold. The loss of the guildhall changes nothing. Our numbers continue to grow, even now. Let their blood soak the earth of whatever new location we procure.” A flash of rage passed through Gavril Nikolaev’s eyes when asked about it, but the Grim warlock quickly regained his composure. “We lost the guild hall. We lost the Undercity. I pray we recovered enough from our archives and vaults that the loss cuts none too deep. Sentimentality favors us not, but the fact of the matter is that we are at a severe tactical disadvantage. “We Forsaken are not well-loved by the other members of the Horde,” Gavril continued. “The loss of the Undercity is not something about which most orcs, trolls, Tauren or elves will think twice. The burning of Teldrassil, however … Will either galvanize the Alliance, or burn away at their faith … We need a new guild hall, or our enemies will chip away at us and eventually destroy us. We are nomads. Homeless. Exposed to the elements. This must needs be rectified before anything else.” “The battle was a mess,” commented Umbra Longheart, warrior of The Grim. “The Alliance caught us with our pants down, nobody suspected they would stoop to our level when they flattened Brill. It’s not the first battle I’ve been on the losing side of, though some could have saved themselves some grief by following Awatu’s orders clearly. In the heat of battle, a clear chain of command needs to be adhered to, even a bad plan can succeed with everyone working in lock step.” Umbra went on to add, “I never spent much time there as i never felt entirely… safe… I’ve done a bit of leg work finding some nice out of the way, forgotten by time locations throughout Lordaeron that would be suitable for modification, I’ve already handed the list off to Qabian though I’m sure he’s forgotten about it if he even had time to read it while beating the war drum.” Aquizit Shadesoul, Seeker of The Grim, did not seem too concerned when asked about the loss of the guildhall. “It’s a shame, solely for the fact of needing to find somewhere else to store and house the things and people who need it. I think, as a whole, it is insignificant. This organization does not suffer those who can’t take care of themselves, and the Mandate is enduring beyond paper, parchment, or records. It’s good to have a hall, for presence’s sake alone, to tell the world we exist, and that we endure. But for one individual hall? It’s just a symbol, not the heart.” Aderlee said “I tink de Grim fought well. We ‘ad very liddle casualties and we kept de Alliance away for a good while. De wards were strong but not strong enough. Dat was a weakness I ‘ad found last year at Khorvis’ request, but I don’t know if anyting was done ta make dem stronger. Da guild hall itself was fine, but it’s a loss dat we can replace. Losing Brill and Lordaeron exposed dat it was not in a strong position. We can do better. We got de important bits and artifacts and Grims out. Dat’s more important den stone and dirt.” Lord Pincus Dorian, longtime warlock of The Grim, gave only three words in comment: “Unfortunate, but necessary.” ====================================================================== Grim and TE.jpg (77.91 KiB) Viewed 2 times OOC~ Before the storyline kicked off, The Grim and Twilight Empire met to have some fun PVP skirmishes outside of Brill. This was The Grim’s last event on Twisting Nether/Ravenholdt servers. Thank you, Twilight Empire, for being a part of it!
  34. 1 point
    ((Open to all members of The Grim and Twilight Empire. Reply here or ask any member for an invite to the Discord server.)) During the events of the battle at Lordaeron..... The sounds of battle were a neverending background noise. The Grim fought alongside the Horde in the ruins as the Alliance pressed them back with soldiers and machinery. They heard Baine call for the retreat, and reluctantly fell back with the rest of the Horde. Much of the Horde scattered then, and The Grim grouped up among themselves. Brill was scorched by now, decimated by the attack. But The Grim's guildhall was mostly underground. Breaking off from the main force, those in the familiar black and red tabards headed toward Brill. August 12, 2018 KatelleLast Sunday at 4:21 PM The stench of blood and death hung heavy in the air, but still the Alliance pressed on. Ragged cheers went up at Baine's call for retreat. The Empire stood with the Alliance, blue and gold tabards covered in gore but nonetheless brilliant in spirit, her forces rallied by the shouts of one of her warriors. They pressed forward with the other forces, both soldiers and adventurers alike, even as the Horde turned tail and retreated. ZakarnasLast Sunday at 4:21 PM As the Horde began to flee, Zakarnas stopped and stood still to breathe for what felt like the first time. He lowered his daggers and let his shoulders drop with his exhalation. Amber eyes scanned the ruins, analyzing comrade and foe alike. Out of the corner of his field of vision, he noticed a fairly large group routed away from the primary Horde army. Was that...? He was certain that it was. He stepped back a few feet and gently nudged Katelle with his elbow. He subtly inclined his head towards the group of The Grim. MyakaLast Sunday at 7:06 PM Myaka let out a roaring cheer as the horde began to retreat. Her draenic sword was painted in a black mixure of blood and ichor. The purple Shadowflame of the Twilight Scales glowed in the flickering soot and ashes. She raised the shield aloft for a moment and it disappeared in a flash of fire. She took the pause to catch her breath a moment. LeslieLast Sunday at 7:20 PM Leslie finds it difficult to restrain herself when the elf she's fighting turns tail to dash away at the sound of the retreat, but she does. Mya's cheer from nearby brings her out of the moment. With her broadsword still held up in guard, she moves towards the others with a careful eye on the horde falling back. QabianLast Sunday at 7:21 PM Qabian followed close behind the other Grim. He was not naturally a leader and always gravitated toward the back of the pack. In combat, he was at best a decently thoughtful contributor to controlled chaos. At worst, he was a deserter, never in terms of abandoning the fight, but with a taste for indiscriminate harm and property damage that was unlikely to be particularly helpful to anyone on any side. The longer the battle went on, the more he felt inclined to the latter, and he did not like being ordered to retreat. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Sunday at 7:31 PM Jaelantia watched the routed forces of the Horde pulling away, clutching her warhammer as adrenaline still ran through her body. She sighed, and let her muscles slowly relax as she focused her attention instead on tending to the wounded - before some new surprise could appear. UmbralheartLast Sunday at 8:03 PM The call for retreat rang out in her dense skull, the sound of the order hurt her ears worse than fingernails being pulled from her hands. Umbral has seen what happens to people slow to retreat, her days as a youth watching South Shore and Tarren Mill flop back and fourth endlessly were not for loss. Through the chaos and broken ranks Umbral sped through the mayhem, dancing over the dead and leaping off those too slow to keep up, eventually making her way back to the pack of Grim she had gotten seperated from. With her shield ready and her fel green elf eyes scanning in all directions Umbral did what she hated most, retreated.(edited) Arthelle SunstrikeLast Sunday at 8:26 PM As the cheers rang out, the Void Elf relaxed. Fire still burned at her fingertips, but it quickly faded into smoke, and then nothing. Breathing heavily, she lifted a glove up to her lips and coughed twice. "Not the best of signs," murmured Arthelle to herself before putting her back to a pillar and sliding down until she was seated while clutching her sides. "Yep. Definitely made it worse with the blight and, uh, activity." KatelleLast Sunday at 8:40 PM The Imperial General turned to her Colonel at the nudge, following his gaze. Icy eyes, just visible through the visor slit in her molded leather helm, narrowed at the sight of red and black tabards on the move. She growls a wordless oath and vanishes from sight, trusting her second to follow suit. Her voice rang out over the Imperial guildstone, then, unheard by all except those who carried their own: "Empire! Grim spotted moving away from Horde forces! I want them mowed down!" MyakaLast Sunday at 8:41 PM Myaka turns at Kate's call, seeing the Grim retreating. A wide half mad grin splits her face and she starts moving, her run turning into a blistering run of a charge as battlerage roared through her. "Understood General, I'm on my way." LeslieLast Sunday at 8:43 PM Leslie turns the instant she hears the command and follows right after Myaka as she passes. Arthelle SunstrikeLast Sunday at 8:45 PM Upon hearing Kate call for some heads, Arthelle grinned through the pain. She forced herself off her rear and onto her feet once more, only to cast a quick molten barrier around herself. Walking at a brisk pace while holding her stomach, she prepared another fire spell in her right hand. "Well, this is a rare day indeed." AwatuLast Sunday at 11:02 PM The appearance of Jaina Proudmoore had certainly shifted the favor of battle out of the Horde's hands. Why the Warchief had not issued flanking positions or improved magical defenses was beyond Awatu. But, no time for such thoughts now. Brill was utterly destroyed, and the first layer of defenses for the Halls had been broken. Immediate defense of the catacombs was necessary, regardless of the Horde's grasp on Lordaeron. If wisdom is applied to battle tactics, the troops can remain in Undercity for months while under siege. The Commander rushed across the edge of the battlefield, a cadre of Grim behind him following his orders to fall back to the Halls. He retrieved a hearthstone from a pouch and spoke into it, speaking an order to all Grim. "All Grim, both in the field and in battle, must fall back to the Halls underneath the Gallow's End Tavern. Brill is no more and defense of the Halls is of the utmost priority. All must follow this order, no exceptions." An unspoken thought goes through his mind. "Should I see any who fail to follow this order... they will be made examples of... most harshly..." IvanLast Sunday at 11:33 PM Sky Captain Ivan Starlance, shining son of the Alliance, righteous Knight of the Silver Hand, esteemed heir of General Josef Starlance, and hero, of course, rides atop his armoured warhose Justice through the fray of battle. He could barely hear Lady Larmont's call to arms over the clash of steel, but he knows the order she rallies against. The Grim, one of the most heinous blights following the orders of the Banshee Queen. He knows them well enough through reputation to judge their destruction here more than necessary. "For the Light! For the Alliance!" He lifts his warhammer to the sky so that it may be ignited with the vindicating flames of the Light and charges towards the retreating black and red tabards. August 13, 2018 AderleeLast Monday at 1:36 AM The commander’s words were clear in Aderlee’s head, … defense of the Halls is of the utmost priority. Well that wasn’t Aderlee’s priority, his was to ensure the full and complete destruction of his laboratory lest it fall in the hands of the Alliance. With the sudden appearance of the Alliance and the need to defend Undercity left Aderlee little time to arm his demolition charges. He would have liked to double and triple check his work, but there was no time. His explosives rarely malfunctioned, but he would not be satisfied unless he activated the charges manually or saw them detonate from a distance and hopefully destroy Alliance soldiers in the process. No, all Grim are needed to defend the Halls and Aderlee would follow his family and defend the Halls. The laboratory was located within eyeshot of Brill and the entrance to the Halls, if happenchance allowed he would complete his demolition. For the retreat, Aderlee ran among the rear of the pack waving his staff from side to side and occasionally hopping from one foot every few steps. His magic would reinvigorate any tired Grim and urge them to retreat with greater haste. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 10:13 AM Jaelantia silently stood, eyes scanning the crowd for the familiar tabard of the Empire. Once she'd caught a glimpse of the twin lions, she swiftly made her way in their direction. Her hooves clattered against stone as her pace quickened and her grip tightened around her warhammer. There was more to be done. SyreennaLast Monday at 11:09 AM After hearing Awatu's orders, Syreena finishes off an Alliance soldier she was engaged with, and turns to retreat to the guild hall. Her glowing yellow gaze sweeps the field near her on her way, waving at any other Grim she sees to follow her. Jinka, an orc hunter, moves with the little rogue, a red wolf running at her side. GavrilLast Monday at 12:18 PM As he hears Awatu's command for retreat, Gavril casually looks on as his felhound tears out the throat of a fallen Alliance soldier, finishing them off. The death knight Kvetoslava similarly executes a night elven archer on their knees. Both Forsaken narrow their eyes, catching Syreena running by, and similarly follow suit. Gavril was loathe to retreat, but fully understand the tactical necessity -- the Alliance had the advantage in the open field. They would be hard pressed to assault the Halls. Gavril pats his belt down to check his few remaining canisters of Blight, regrouping with the rest of the Grim. KatelleLast Monday at 2:24 PM Katelle trusted her Imperials to move without physically needing her to lead them. She stayed in the shadows, adrenaline lending a sprinting speed to her limbs that almost enabled her to keep up with Myaka's surging charge. Even still, the Grim had the advantage of distance by the time she had given the call. Would they be fast enough to catch their red-black prey? "Follow them!" Katelle commanded, voice like steel across the guildstone but unheard in physical space. "Whatever you do, don't let them disappear from view!"(edited) LeslieLast Monday at 2:36 PM Leslie needs no more prodding into chasing after the fleeing Horde as quickly as she can, so the beast charges forward after them without another word or thought. If nothing else, she will use her speed as an advantage to keep eyes on them. MyakaLast Monday at 2:45 PM Myaka also keeps up her fast pace, letting battlerage fuel her. She avoids things in the way by making large leaps over downed branches and debris. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 3:37 PM The paladin's stoic march towards the fleeing horde stopped. Instead, Jaelantia broke into a determined run, sprinting after her quarry with her hammer held low and ready for the first swing. Her plate clattered heavily with each stomp of her hooves, and she bore down in the direction of the red-and-black, advancing like a furious elekk. Her eyes, bright and golden, were fixed forward in a dutiful stare. She would not lose them. Her purpose was to crush them all. UmbralheartLast Monday at 4:01 PM Umbral took a quick look through the fog of war and made sure every Grim within view was close enough to protect should the need arise. In the spur of the moment as the crowd of Grim neared their rally point Umbral sees an alliance soldier, bleeding to death trying to keep his insides from becoming outsides and using a polearm as a cane to limp to safety, she takes a skip with one step then a hop with another landing on the limping soldier like a child jumping into a puddle sending a shower of viscera out in all directions from her impact crater. She steadies herself with the polearm stuck in the ground the soldier was trying to pull himself along with and decides to take it hoping to gain an advantage in the corridors of the guildhall if the fighting makes its way in there. As the red tide settles around her an insane laughter echoes out from under her helmet. "Fitting the Empire chooses to fight today or all days!"(edited) QabianLast Monday at 4:04 PM Qabian pauses and turns, a couple other nameless Grim knocking past his shoulder as they run. He lifts his hand, two fingers up and gestures at the husk of a ruined siege engine some distance behind them. Its already smoldering form bursts into fresh flames as he stands and raises his other arm to match it. The spellwork seems useless on first glance, then a meteor forms out of the sky, and crashes into the pile of charred and broken beams at a low angle, scattering flames and debris in a blazing river of fire across a good portion of the path they had already covered. The blood elf purses his lips, satisfied with his work, then blinks back into line with the company, keeping pace just ahead of Aderlee. If you're going to be bringing up the rear, better to know where the nearest healer is. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 4:11 PM Jaelantia's singular objective was not changed by the sudden explosion of a seige engine. From out of the flame and splintering debris, she emerged, barely losing a stride. Though the holy protection of the Light wreathed her entire form, the flames still licked at her and surrounded her body bas she passed through, making her seem briefly akin to a fireball barreling towards them. When she was finally free of the fire, her silhouette against the wall of flame was only illuminated by the intense glow of her eyes, glaring furiously from beneath her helm. MyakaLast Monday at 4:23 PM Myaka also doesn't break her stride, taking a running leap through the flames. Fire licks at her enchanted armor but the warrior seems to just ignore it as she continues towards the grim. KatelleLast Monday at 4:42 PM An otherworldly, animalistic shriek could be heard through the clamor of combat. Charging through the masses of soldiers enemy and friend alike, a skeletal warhorse--glowing with the violet energies of the Twisting Nether--broke through the raging fire as it sped ahead of the Imperials. Its rider, a cowled woman whose robes glowed smoke-like wisps of Fel and Nether alike, didn't allow her mount to charge too far ahead. She slowed just as she came in range to shout foul curses in Eredun at whichever Grim targets were near her, voice echoing like a banshee screech as her agonies and afflictions sped through the air. Would they hit? QabianLast Monday at 5:19 PM At least one of the dark streaks of violet-black the fel woman threw slammed across Qabian's right side, the force of the spell enough to send him tumbling head over heels, but running was a skill Qabian had practiced a great deal, and he rolled with the strike. With another shimmering blink across the field, he was on his feet with more people between him and the direction the spell had come from. A bubble of translucent defensive magic popped into place as well. The blood elf looked down and saw slick shadow wrapping around his elbow, crawling up and down his arm menacingly. He hissed between his teeth, and brought his hand to his pauldron, unstrapping it as he ran and letting it fall, the distraction causing him to stumble over debris. With his opposite hand at his shoulder and the sound of a couple clicks, the prosthesis disengaged and he tugged his tightly bandaged arm out of its sleeve completely. He looked around, desperation rising behind his eyes. He needed to get out of the open. AwatuLast Monday at 5:30 PM The ruins of Brill came into view, and the pile of rubble that was once the Gallow's End Tavern smoldered much like the rest of the pitiful town. Holding his shield high, a few spells struck the barrier and were deflected away by Awatu's own divine magics. A quick glance around the battlefield showed what he had feared: the Horde was being routed and no reinforcements would be able to reclaim Brill or Tirisfal Glades. Furthermore, a contingent of Alliance were following them, and more would soon come. The Alliance forces had all the time necessary to set up their siege, and it would be only a matter of time before the main entrance of the guild hall was surrounded. The second layer of wards were holding, for now, but only enough to buy time before soldiers could rush the garrison. He stood near the pile of rubble, turned, and planted himself between the entrance and any oncoming attackers. A quick spell snap, and a banner bearing the cloaked skull and twin daggers of The Grim was planted into the ground. There was no hiding it anymore. Any Alliance seeking to get close to the entrance would have to deal with over one ton of furious Tauren. Another order rang out over the hearhtstone. "Defensive posititions! Rally to me! Those who can clear the rubble, do so. We need to gain entry to the Halls." AureilyaLast Monday at 5:39 PM Aureilya's voice came over the hearthstone. "I have barricaded and secured our archives and will be sending them through a portal to a safe location. I will hold the Library for as long as I can and will self evacuate by portal. Qabian, can you arrange for an emergency portal for the rest of you should it become necessary?" QabianLast Monday at 5:55 PM Qabian slid behind a wall of stones that might have once been a building's foundation near Awatu, scattering dirt as he half-sat, half-crouched. He tried to work magic into the false arm as he tossed it onto the ground in front of him, but not having the second hand available for the gestures made it more difficult than it needed to be. The bandages slowly melted away under the effects of the shadowy spell as it dissolved whatever it touched, leaving behind a silver filigree arm-shaped empty mesh that the mage cursed at as he tried to apply fire. "What? Yes, of course! What do you think--" He shouted, then bit his tongue, cutting short his too-loud curt response to the call on the hearthstone as he turned his attention back to trying to cleanse his fake arm.(edited) DuhallenLast Monday at 6:20 PM The Elf was old, it was tall, upon first glance people would figure it to be a nightborn. He was prideful and the affliction he helped level on the lands of Lorderon were attrocious. Sure he had a body guard but as his hand extended. plants died quickly blackened by the influence and might. The alliance soldiers fell to their knees afflicted with the Blight. And when the Bainesidhe queen threw out the blight it just worsened with his very presence there. He wore the colors of the Grim. But every inch of Skin seemed to be covered with the Red and black mix. If one got close to hime they might even see that his very uniform is alive and absorbing magical shots. Hearing the retreat he repeats it to other Horde and Grim members. He knew he needed more to bring to the fore. He was one of the first to retreat, not war minded more tactitian minded. Duhallen slipped back to the choke point getting his demon to cover him. He wasn't really a runner when the Banshee scream came towards them he let out a dark chuckle, speaking in demonic he seemed to slip through the twisting nether the attack passing harmlessly as he ended up past the lines. He focused putting a shield up sliding further back from the ranks as he started to etch on the ground. A portal to bring reinforcements. Murmuring in demonic a purple blighted swirl came across the ground. The portal opened with many shark like teeth. And the tongue came out like it would swallow those that went through it. Then the tongue straightened like a set of stairs.(edited) Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 6:38 PM Making her way across the burning scar through Tirisfal Glades, the draenei finally caught a glimpse of what little remained of Brill. Surely, she thought, that was where her quarry was headed. She grit her teeth and pressed on into the ruins of the town in pursuit, embers still glowing at the edges of her tabard, the symbol of the Hand still visible through a layer of blood and ash and ichor. GavrilLast Monday at 7:50 PM Gavril glances back just in time to see Qabian hit by the Alliance warlock's afflictions, and turns to face her and the Vindicator. Snarling as only a jawless corpse can, the warlock thrusts his skeletal hands violently towards the two oncoming alliance. A violet nova of shadow energy blasts between them -- a Shadowfury meant to stun and slow their advance, giving the other Grim more time to take cover.(edited) Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 8:18 PM Jaelantia felt the brunt force of the warlock's magic strike her. In an instant, the edges of her vision began to blur and she felt every inch of her body throbbing with pain. Her every step felt like a slog through thick mud, her joints screaming at her to stop. Though slowed to an agonized walk, she refused to cease, and pushed her way through the misery of the Shadowfury. Her off-hand clenched and unclenched a few times before pushing through the same blinding pain as the rest of her to lay her palm upon her breast. With a silent prayer, the Light coursed through the draenei's body, and the affliction of the warlock's magic began to abate. After a few seconds, her attention turned towards the direction she had seen Gavril a moment earlier as her eyes returned to focus. Her grip tightening on her hammer, she finally resumed her determined charge. UmbralheartLast Monday at 8:41 PM Through the fire and the chaos Umbral sees Gavril about to unintentionally become several pieces of little Gavril's. With a well trained sprint and little thought for her own safety Umbral's shield and body fall into line obscuring Gavril from view behind its blood splattered bronze finish. She let's out a mighty roar (for an elf) determined to deflect spell, arrow, or hammer while moving backwards forcing the dedder warlock to retreat under her cover. KatelleLast Monday at 9:10 PM Both warlock and her demonic mount were caught by the full brunt of the Shadowfury alongside Jaelantia, though Ketani had not the physical fortitude to slog through it. Beneath her hood, molten-copper eyes squeezed shut against the blinding disorientation caused by so familiar a magic and spell. She clung to her otherworldly steed as her own world spun in pain, an eternity jamming through the few seconds of the nova's duration. Finally, everything righted itself. Ketani straightened, taking a breath to steady herself even as she snapped her steed forward. "Keep an eye on that warlock's portal," she called across the guildstone, eyeing the toothy maw even as she galloped past it.(edited) MyakaLast Monday at 9:11 PM Myaka sees the shadowfury and tries to move to block it, though is to slow to stop it from both Jael or the mysterious warlock. She doesn't know who the new person is, but they are fighting the grim, so they must be good. She charges to intercept Umbral knowing this will start to get her into the grim forces. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 9:17 PM Seeing Umbral's approach to intervene, and surprised by her speed, Jaelantia changed tactics. As she got in closer, her hammer ready to swing, she began to shimmer, an aura of Light shining around her whole being. The sight of it soon became dazzling and blinding, like staring into the face of the sun. The warrior charging ahead may find that the Light, though visibly bright, would not sting her eyes nearly so much as those of the elf and - should that shield fall - the warlock ahead of her.(edited) UmbralheartLast Monday at 10:10 PM Umbral seethed with anger, blinded by the radiance she staggered back a few steps, shield held with a strong grip but not ready to deflect a direct strike should it find her. After shaking her head, all she could do was hope she was still backing up while she waited for her vision to return and hope her bloody shield, polearm gripped in the middle of it's haft, and muscular elf frame was enough to block the way and buy Gavril a moment of respite if not a window to react. MyakaLast Monday at 10:22 PM Myaka finishes her charge seeing Umbral and Gavril slowed down. She moves to strike at Umbral first while she's disoriented, purple draenic sword cleaving towards her and shadowflame rolling from her shield. AderleeLast Monday at 10:27 PM As the violet-black fel slammed into Qabian, Aderlee ducked beneath another as he continued his retreat. He stutter stepped so he wouldn’t run into the back of Qabian and continued to run. Aderlee reached out with his magic to mend Qabian’s wounds, but couldn’t seem to find any. When Qabian disengaged his prosthetics, Aderlee let loose a loud cackle then spoke between breaths , “Ju learn someting new every day Q, hehe.” Aderlee was thankful for Gavril and Umbral buying them time as the Alliance soldiers converged on them rather than Aderlee and the rear troops. As Aderlee caught up to and passed Umbral and Gavril, he paused to yank a metal fetish off of his robe and throw it at the incoming Alliance with his free hand. He tried to throw it at Myaka as she was charging first, but his aim was off and the fetish sailed over her head as she closed the gap. The fragmentation grenade disguised as a fetish exploded a moment after hitting the ground, sending sharp metallic fragmentation in every direction. Aderlee hoped the grenade would cause the incoming soldiers to pause rather than risk running into another explosion, then turned and continued his retreat towards Awatu. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 10:35 PM Jaelantia stopped her advance short as the suspicious object bounced off the ground, then braced herself as it exploded. She exhaled sharply through her teeth as bits of shrapnel pelted her armor, some burying themselves deep enough to cause pain. She didn't wait for the pain to subside, hoping the effect of the sunburst of her aura of Light would give her enough time to close in even after the explosion. Dust and smoke still in the air, she lunged forward, swinging her hammer in a wide arc with both arms - hoping the elf was still where she'd been a moment ago. UmbralheartLast Monday at 11:42 PM Umbral's vision comes back into focus as the sharp slice of Myaka's purple draenic sword glances off her shield and finds flesh on her bicep. She lets out a howl in response to the pain that focuses her senses as her rage peaks ever higher. Rather than deflect with her shield, Umbral attempts to deliver the slab of gore covered metal straight to the face of the charging paladin in an effort to deliver a humiliating blow what would leave the crusader covered in someone elses blood and hopefully slow her dance of death to a mere two step of torture. Opting for offensive humiliation comes not without consequence as the hammer of the crusader strikes Umbral in one of the few places on her body not clad in armor, somehow Umbral has managed to take a large hammer blow to the buttock as she positioned to crash into the paladin coming at her... Syreena could NOT find out about this though the bruise would likely stick around for months... if Umbral survived at all. DuhallenLast Monday at 11:43 PM *The portal was up Duhalken felt the protection of the elf he blocked to portal so the alliance would not blast the reinforcements coming. The red river elf then started chanting and lifting his hands purple black ooze came forth with a feel akin to the scourge. * GavrilLast Monday at 11:51 PM Unfortunately, Umbral is neither large nor well-dressed enough to shield the warlock from the paladin's blast of Light. Gavril collapses to one knee, the Light rendering him temporarily blind, searing his undead flesh and sending white-hot pain throughout his body. He extends a free claw towards the Alliance as they engage Umbral, wildly sending curses of Agony and Corruption, praying to the Dark Lady that -- between his spells and Aderlee's grenade -- Umbral is able to hold off the two of them. August 14, 2018 QabianYesterday at 12:09 AM Qabian tossed Aderlee a smirk. The blood elf managed to get his magic working enough to burn away the shadows surrounding the false arm, leaving the silver filigree glowing molten. He burned away the rest of the empty sleeve as well. There just wasn't any time to try and put everything back together. Apparently undeterred by the red hot metal where he grabbed the arm, he snapped the limb back onto the corresponding silver cap on his now bared stump of a shoulder, and there was a flash of white-purple light as trails of floating runes surrounded the arm then dissipated. The metal arm shape was empty at its center, a twisting band of arcane white light through its core apparently what drove its function. He flexed his hands, one still gloved, the other one clearly artificial but moving as though it were entirely natural. He clapped them together once, then hopped over the wall to take a place behind Awatu, alongside the banner, playing defense as ordered. MyakaYesterday at 12:11 AM Myaka snarled lowly, and moved to block umbrals strike with her shield before stabbing her blade towards the other warrior. Vindicator JaelantiaYesterday at 12:16 AM Jaelantia barely escapes taking Umbral's shield to the face as her hammer strike brings her in range. She shoots Myaka a grateful look from beneath the visor of her helm once she recovers after the follow-through of her swing, and is suddenly wrought with an incredible agony. Her flesh begins to blister and steam as the Curse of Agony takes hold, and her gaze snaps to Gavril. She extends a gauntlet covered palm to the warlock as her flesh sizzles and her teeth grind. "I have come to destroy you," she says plainly, before forcing the Light to flow through her agonized fingertips,. She struggled against the pain as she loosed a shocking burst of holy magic, seeking to sear the kneeling undead.(edited) PincusYesterday at 12:17 AM The portal undulates and contorts oddly, seemingly unwilling to let whatever coming through pass. Out from the inky black hole steps a rather large Forsaken, nearly 6 feet tall, and besides him his large felhound. He is dressed in purple, skulls on his shoulders, and face hidden in the cowl with nothing but red eyes peering out. The figure points in the general direction of the melee, and the fel runs off to do his master's bidding. The figure eyes the battlefield, and let's out a sharp whistle. The felhunter runs back to his side. The Forsaken raises his hand, clenches a fist, and flings it downward in a sharp motion. A meteoric rock hurls forth from the Nether, and blossoms into a giant Infernal in the middle of the scrum. GavrilYesterday at 12:46 AM The bolt of Light strikes Gavril square in the chest, sending him sprawling on his back, heavy silken and velvet robes crumpled around him, steam rising from a gaping hole in his chest as a spectral howl escapes his throat. Then, the Infernal falls. Somewhat regaining his composure, the Forsaken retorts in stilted Common, "You must needs destroy that one, first." And then to Umbral, "Warbringer! To the Commander!" Using the ensuing chaos to his advantage, Gavril forces himself to his feet, claw to the wound in his chest, scrambling back towards Awatu and the cover of the ruins of Brill. Le'saraYesterday at 12:51 AM A blast of fire shoots through Duhallen's portal, and out steps Le'sara Sunspear, wreathed in a shroud of flame. "Time to burn some wretched Alliance mongrel bastards!" UmbralheartYesterday at 1:04 AM Umbral impacts her shield with Myaka's and recoils with a cackling twisted glee as the human shield sends Umbral back a step. Umbral takes another strong stomp and her sabaton slams into the ground with enough impact to make those around take note as well as kick up more blood shed from the fallen victims near by hoping to at least create enough horror and outrage to buy enough time for Gavril to escape unmolested by the light. As her foot meets the viscera covered mud and blood flies into the air, her shield falls into place in front of her and with unwavering strength and renewed resilience she quickly regains her balance and back pedals towards Awatu almost as fast as Gavril can run forward. In the months since Umbral pledged herself to the Mandate, she's become strong with the Grim at her back, and resilient standing behind the Grim. DuhallenYesterday at 2:16 AM *The chanting stopped from behind away. A cold wind came forth as the warlock reached a bit too much. He used to not need to breath. He clutched his chest as he summoned the scourge magics no longer infused with relish kings power in full. The cold wind of the north swept across the battlefield and a sickness settled into the blighted soil. The dead that lay on the battlefield start to come alive. They look like they have no light to their eyes and only hunger for flesh. The more alive the better. Duhallen wheezed for breath as life and death conflicted in him. Distracted for long moments after the spell was complete. *(edited) SyreennaYesterday at 10:03 AM Syreenna appears from the shadows at Awatu’s side, surveying the oncoming Alliance and those ho were already engaged in battle with Grim. She recognized a few, and she recognized their tabard. “Twilight Empire. Old friends of mine,” she says to Awatu with a wicked grin. Drawing her swords, she heads into the skirmish, fading into the shadows once more. MyakaYesterday at 10:10 AM Myaka is used to those slamming foot stomps, she does something similar to off foot people as well on occasion. The viscera kicked into the air doesn't seem to unnerve her, neither does the raised bodies. Instead, fury and rage grows, the flames on the shield whip into a frenzy that she sends towards Umbral in a plume of shadowflame. Followed soon after is quick sword stabs and strikes. AderleeYesterday at 12:09 PM Finally reaching Awatu, Aderlee took a moment to catch his breath while muttering “Ah’m gettin’ too old fa’ lotsa runnin’ like dat.” He turned and saw Gavril was clutching his chest, so Aderlee planted his staff in the ground and reached out with the shadows to mend his wounds. Aderlee disliked healing forsaken, their dead bodies left him no way to heal with his preferred method. As each forsaken may have died differently, Aderlee could never be sure if an arm was gone permanently, or maybe that hole was always in that chest. He wasn’t as proficient with the shadows compared to blood magic either. A shadow then swirled around Aderlee’s fingertips as he willed Gavril’s chest wound to heal as much as he could. Finished with that, he watched the infernal crash to the ground in the center of the battle. Dis buys me a moment. Aderlee reached into his front pouch and pulled out a bulb-shaped glass containing a dark blue fluid with bright purple swirls mixing about. He pulled the stopper out with his teeth and downed the entire glass in one gulp. Aderlee’s eyes screwed shut and his expression was filled with disgust, then his entire body shook lightly and his eyes opened to reveal dark and dilated pupils. The glass fell from his hand and shattered in the rubble while Aderlee clapped his hands together once and loudly. An unseen and unfelt wind seemed to sweep over Aderlee and buffeted about his robes while all the trinkets, rings and bells on his robes jingled together not unlike when a strong gust would jingle a wind chime but the sound was much uglier and out of tune. Doped and ready for battle again, Aderlee wrenched his staff from the ground and stood ready. LeslieYesterday at 12:50 PM Leslie stops just short of the impact of the infernal, making a dash to the side and sliding through the ruined ground on all fours. The worgen glances around swiftly to note where everyone is in relation to the great amalgamation, but she doesn’t need long to see that the burning construct running amok on the battlefield could only end in ruin for the Imperials. The runes on her sword flare just before she pulls it from her back and chucks it at the creature like a javelin. As she fortifies herself with runed magic flaring and her greatsword in hand, she attempts to command its attention onto herself with the hope of distracting it until it can be brought down. If nothing else, she will try to keep it engaged to buy the Alliance more time. UmbralheartYesterday at 5:30 PM Umbral's shieldwork was impeccable in this moment, Myaka pressed the attack only to be futilely swatted away by a series of precise and practiced motions from her massive slab of a shield. As she backed away from her attackers, dancing over the dead and dodging the souls of the damned joining the fray she can't help but smile more with every futile blow swatted away. Every thud from every blow deflected by her shield serving only as accompaniment music for her chorus line of cackling. After a few more moments spent backing up and suffering through whatever fresh hell Myaka's flaming shield could produce Umbral yelled out in orcish "If Gavril is safe then get my bruised ass out of here!" Le'saraYesterday at 6:45 PM Le'sara saw Umbral under assault and was quick. She blinked forward, getting up close to the Alliance attacker. She grinned at Myaka and gave a very venemous "Hello, swine." Which she followed up by placing her hand in front of Myaka's face and attempting to blast it with fire. Vindicator JaelantiaYesterday at 6:47 PM "This demon stands between them and retribution!" Jaelantia bellowed over the din of the fighting. Her skin had finally stopped its itching and burning and was now down to a dull ache thanks to her own Light healing -- and now she was prepared for another engagement. She glowered up at the Infernal, the flickering felflame illuminating the bloodied Hand emblem upon her chest. "Remove it!" She lunged forward, dust and debris kicking up from her hooves. Carrying that momentium into attack, she put her weight into a swing to strike the great fel construct, Light shimmering around the head of the great hammer.(edited) MyakaYesterday at 6:51 PM Myaka just snarls back at Le'sara and raises her dragonscale shield. The purple scales pulse with twilight energies and any magical or fel attack would be hard pressed to get past it's heavy resistance. Shadowflame roars from it's center, looking to pay the mage back with flames of it's own. DuhallenYesterday at 7:04 PM Duhallen ducked behind the large Tauren. he pulled up his mask a bit to get air. He almost felt his life force ripped from him. His eyes narrowing he slipped his helmet back on Pulling from the nether from health stones he infused one in his form. Standing behind Awatu looking at the field. He slid up his staff at it seemed to writhe with the infernal magics.. Etching a marking in the air then slamming the Staff on the ground a casing of a portal appeared near Umbral and near where she could jump up to be by Awatu. The portal would be a deathtrap to anyone but Grim. KatelleYesterday at 7:05 PM Ketani reared her mount up before colliding with the Infernal. Her first instinct was to attempt to enslave or even banish the construct, but seeing Jaelentia in the throng of holy wrath changed her mind. Instead, she lifted her hands away from the reigns and began chanting in eredun. Gloved hands glowed with felfire as she attempted to wrest control of the flames binding the Internal together. PincusYesterday at 7:24 PM The Forsaken watched the wrath his creation had brought. "Less of a force and more of a diversion", he thought. With a quick wave of his hands and a whisper of Gutterspeak, he begins to spread his version of pestilence and agony to the Alliance below. Then, with a quick snap of his fingers, his felsteed appears from the Nether, and he makes a quick getaway to the rearward position. Vindicator JaelantiaYesterday at 7:42 PM Feeling the prickling of her skin signalling the beginning of another slew of curses, Jaelantia quickly withdrew a few steps from the Infernal to utter a very brief prayer and cleanse herself with the Light. She sighed with relief as she began to purge the ailment from her body. Before returning to the fight, she glanced over at Ketani and Myaka to see if they were similarly afflicted.(edited) UmbralheartYesterday at 7:51 PM Umbral hops back through Duhallen's portal having little faith the Grim Warlock was acting in her best interest but was pleasantly surprised to be by Awatu and suddenly safe for now. She hoped Gavril and Le'sara had the common sense to retreat to safety as well before being overwhelmed by a gold and blue tide that was over taking Tirisfal. After having taken just long enough to gain her bearings she takes up a defensive posture near Awatu, swatting away the occasional mindless undead as she stays vigilant.(edited) AwatuYesterday at 8:44 PM The Alliance continued their pursuit, and Awatu was backed into a corner. The rubble itself had been cleared enough for individuals to enter the guild hall, but it still left an opening for Alliance to eventually make their way inside. As Awatu deflected arrows and spells with his shield, he looked up towards the hills in the direction of Undercity. There, siege engines could be seen, slowly making their way back to Brill. Along with with several contingents of soldiers. A relatively small group of Grim would not be able to hold off a direct assault from a military force being spearheaded by the Twilight Empire. It was only a matter of time before they were overrun. The order had gone out to fall back to the guild hall. Awatu kept his shield high and deflected as much as he could, granting cover to anyone seeking entrance. He raised a hoof into the air and stomped the earth. Fiery light emanated from the ground, creating a hazard for any approaching melee combatants. The terrain would hold, but not for long. GavrilYesterday at 9:39 PM Shadows mend the gaping hole in Gavril's chest, from Aderlee's spell, and the warlock is visibly relieved and reinvigorated, though his flesh still shows the worse for wear. He nods a quick thanks to the priest as he reaches the entrance to the guild hall, and the relative safety of Brill's ruins. Standing near the bulwark of Awatu and Umbral, instead of immediately heading through the entrance, he turns to face the oncoming Alliance, fixating his vengeful gaze on the Vindicator. Tracing symbols in the air and chanting in Eredun, he thrusts his palm forward and launches a Seed wreathed in green and black Corruption, heading straight towards the paladin. Vindicator JaelantiaYesterday at 11:04 PM Jaelantia's eyes turned upwards towards the Infernal - and beyond it, to the oncoming spell. As it travelled quickly through the air, the paladin was illuminated in a shimmer of blue. This was the third affliction volleyed her way since arriving, now, and she was growing quite ready for them. As the Light's protective blessing surrounded her, she began shimmering as she had earlier when she was protected with a divine shield. Now, though the Corruption could find a home in the holy vessel of the paladin's body, she would at least be able to endure for a little longer without a surprise knife in the side to go with her agony. Staring down the incoming spell, she drew back one arm, and then thrust it forward in a furious pitching motion. As her fingers cut through the air, the Light began to collect between her fingertips, finally manifesting into the shape of a stone hammer. It flew forth at the end of her throw, and she observed its course - straight into the warlock's direction - as she followed through.(edited) August 15, 2018 MyakaToday at 8:45 AM Myaka would keep pushing forward towards the bulk of the Grim, the warrior being hit by the agony and affliction curses but her pain resistance keeping her upright and moving, albeit a bit slower than before. Her singular purpose is on the Tauren who seems to be the leader, and she seems to be attempting to get to him. PincusToday at 8:50 AM Pincus made it back behind the defensive line, leaping over the line. The felsteed disappeared in midair, and the Forsaken fell rather unelegantly to the ground. Getting himself up and dusting himself off, a familiar voice piped up. "Hey boss, it's all on fire, yo. Doc Rock is also smashing up your joint. Richard is keepin' an eye on the payload,you waiting for your word. Whadda need me to do?" "Shut up and go away," Pincus replied. "This is now a job for Krathoon." The Forsaken begins to muttered, sending Pizloz back to the nether. As his summoning completes, a felguard stands where the imp was moments before. Pincus turns to the demon, points to the battlefield, and says "Hit one of them. Hard. Until either they are dead or you are." DuhallenToday at 10:19 AM Duhallen was told to retreat again.. He looked back inside and to the battlefield.. Oh fearless commander what the hell is in that bull brain of yours? Good thing he couldn't read expressions in the clothing he wore. He focused on Myaka, the curses already on her, he decided to drain her very soul. Casting his hand out as he retreated he focused.. Pulling her very essence from her if he could simply to slow her advance more and perhaps weaken her enough before she would get to the Tauren. MyakaToday at 11:27 AM There is a tug as the drain soul connects, but it would seem like there is no soul to take, almost as if another warlock beat Duhallen to draining it. The small tug doesn't distract the warrior much at all from her path. KatelleToday at 11:42 AM Grin and bear it was Ketani's motto as she fought to keep control of the felfire surrounding the Infernal through the pain of nether afflictions. Growls and gasps marked her pain until it passed, but by that point she had torn the Infernal down to its sum parts. With eyes focused on the group of Grim gathered at a decimated building, Ketani used her magic to hurl the pile of demonic rubble towards the Grim. It flamed anew with her own chaotic fel energies, the felfire and Infernal boulders hurtling through the air with the speed and ferocity of an angry, blood-seeking warlock. MyakaToday at 11:54 AM Myaka disengaged back from the grim as the rubble flies towards them, watching to see if anyone has an opening for an attack Vindicator JaelantiaToday at 12:15 PM While her muscles throbbed with pain, Jaelantia spent what focus she could to extend a hand towards Ketani. She hesitated, her eyes narrowing slightly, but after a moment the Light sprung forth from her fingers, a vibrant beam of golden light briefly enveloping the warlock. The curse she had been afflicted with would sting a bit less, and wounds would cease to burn as the Light restored some of her strength. KatelleToday at 12:17 PM Ketani took a brief moment to regain her bearings once she sent the flaming rubble towards the Grim, and Jaelentia's efforts sped the process along. Breathing a little easier, she spared the draenei a nod. Vindicator JaelantiaToday at 12:21 PM Jaelantia watched to see that she was well, but did not return the gesture. Choosing instead to face the fore, she began to stride forth through the rubble of the Infernal. Ahead, there was a felguard - and a group of Horde warlocks who were surely responsible for its blasphemous existence. GavrilToday at 1:17 PM As the hammer flies towards Gavril, end over end, shadows coalesce into a barrier around him. The hammer slams into the surface of the barrier, shattering into a hundred fragments of Light, spraying outwards and dissipating into the air. The warlock whips around, escaping into the guild hall to no doubt prepare for the siege to come. AderleeToday at 2:57 PM While Ketani sent the pile of demonic rubble speeding toward the Grim position, Aderlee shook his staff up and down wildly while chanting in ancient Zandalari. Empowered from drinking his brew, Aderlee’s voice deepened in octave and had the odd sound of multiple trolls chanting as one. The witch doctor’s chanting, combined with the bells and trinkets jingling wildly was displeasing to the ear at best and more likely grating like nails on a chalkboard. Aderlee could do nothing to stop the rubble, and if he could there were far too many pieces to stop anyways. Hopefully another Grim soldier would be able to stop the larger pieces that made up the torso and limbs of the infernal. The effect of Aderlee’s chanting would momentarily toughen the Grim’s exposed skin like steel during the impact. It would do nothing to lessen the pain of being hit, but the rubble would deflect as if impacting well forged plate armor. Aderlee grimaced as he was pelted by dozens of smaller pieces, then shouted in pain as a rock the size of a watermelon hit him square in the chest, knocking him on his back. With the air knocked out of him Aderlee gasped and tenderly felt his chest, wincing as he felt multiple broken ribs. Before rising to his feet, Aderlee wiggles his fingers about and willed his body to knit back together his bruised and broken bones. KatelleToday at 3:16 PM Katelle stuck to the shadows this entire time, wary of the overlarge Tauren and his command of the Light. Now that his consecrated ground had faded, however, she set her eyes on the downed troll. This one was personal: she recognized him as the troll that translated her wedding vows! Katelle spoke across the guildstone as she stepped through the shadows, exiting them just behind Adderlee. She crouched down just far enough to reach one hand on either side of his throat, keeping wary of his tusks in the moment, and pull a garrote wire taut around his neck.(edited) MyakaToday at 3:19 PM Myaka also charges towards Adderlee, but she doesn't move to attack the troll, instead she plants herself between Kate and the Grim, expecting someone to try to aid the troll. She wants to make sure no one can't help him. UmbralheartToday at 3:46 PM Umbral leaps into position between Aderlee and Myaka, planting herself between the priest and the Empire, her arrival and speed carrying enough weight and presence to stun all in front of her as she hip chucks the priest towards the entrance of the guild hall. Umbrals cackling from underneath her helmet ringing out as her shield plants itself as an annoyingly ever present obstacle. KatelleToday at 3:48 PM Having already stepped through the shadows behind Aderlee and made a grab for him, Katelle gets hip-chucked towards the entrance of the Grim guild hall as well. Whee! Vindicator JaelantiaToday at 3:56 PM While the chunks of Infernal flew through the air, the paladin's relentless rush brought her nearer still to the warlocks and their freshly summoned felguard. She stopped short, the loud clanging of her greaves ceasing just as they had grown their loudest. Her right fist held her warhammer steady as she drew herself back on one leg for an instant. One of her armor covered hooves raised into the air, hovering momentarily over the dead and trampled soil below. With a guttural shout, she stomped back down again, and the impact seemed to crack the very earth beneath her. Shafts of brilliant golden Light swiftly spread in all directions around her, the paladin standing as the epicenter of a sanctified circle. The consecrated ground shuddered with the very force of the holy Light, the divine magic searing any foes caught standing in it.(edited) MyakaToday at 4:00 PM Myaka is stunned, managing to stay upright but she does stumble and take a moment to regain her bearings and balanace. She snarls at Umbral knocks Kate and Adderlee away. She is invigorated by the consecrated circle, though it is noticibly dimmer around her. KatelleToday at 4:03 PM From this close up, Ketani could feel them. Wards--wards around what she presumed was the Grim guild hall, what with the banner flying their grotesque colors. She didn't have the time to pay attention to them just now, though, instead opting to coil her nether energies around her and release them in a terrifying screech that echoed with the voices of a thousand tormented souls. Hopefully, someone would flee in terror as she had made so many do before. PincusToday at 4:05 PM The Forsaken looks at the lump on the ground from the well timed rush. A brief breeze - cutting through the grass, moving it ever so slightly - rushes over the human. The voice of the Eredar carried by the wind. "Die. I am the eater of souls. I am the destroyer of worlds. You will not survive. You will be my slave for time eternal." QabianToday at 4:20 PM From some place that was heavily shielded by Awatu's large form, solid shield, and freakish sun powers, Qabian contributed what he could, mostly by avoiding the direct clashes others were finding themselves in, sending discouraging fire toward any stragglers or scouts trying to find flanking positions. He managed to counter at least one large chunk of infernal with a last second pyroblast over Awatu's shoulder that probably singed a little. But the order to fall back to the hall itself had already gone out, and with his fist of silver wire and white light drawn close in front of his face, the air around the blood elf shimmered for a moment, then he vanished entirely. PincusToday at 4:24 PM Pincus eyes the field - and thinks that the elf is getting a little too far out for comfort. Reaching in his bag, he pulls out a small device and hurls it in the direction of Umbralheart. The mechanical squirrel runs off to fetch something for his master. KatelleToday at 4:29 PM Before the fear takes hold, the masked rogue barks a laugh at Pincus and wraps herself around the back of Aderlee's body, locking her legs at the ankles and locking her garrote wire into place around the troll's neck. Her embrace might even be considered intimate if it weren't for the wire and the way her laughter dies into a terrified scream once the Forsaken's spell fully washes over her. Locked into place as she is, her flailing to try and get away get away oh dear Light get away from here just does more damage to Aderlee and his windpipe (and anything else he wants damaged. She's got knives everywhere). (( Tagging for @Aderlee's return to RP so he can see what is happening to his character! )) MyakaToday at 4:43 PM The scream distracts Myaka, cutting through the rage induced haze, seeing that Kate isn't attacked she assumes it's either a priest or warlock spell. Even though she knows this, the attack against her friend and General causes her rage to grow, she starts swinging her blade at Umbral in rapid controlled strikes and stabs. She follows up on the strike with a massive plume of shadowflame roaring from the center, hoping the strikes knocked Umbral off focus enough for the life drain and debilitating cold of the flame to get past the other warriors defense. UmbralheartToday at 4:52 PM Umbral's cackling grows quiet as the fear sets out over the battlefield, Myaka's strikes give her pause as she works to deflect and buffet them against her shield, but there is little in her toolbox to defend against the fire seeping from Myaka's shield. Sometimes a simple tool is the best tool, sometimes a blunt hammer is the best tool for the job. Umbral lifts her polearm high and drives the flat of the blade down towards Myaka's head with enough force to stun even the most battle hardened warrior even if the blow is deflected. PincusToday at 4:54 PM As Pincus eyes the chaos he's unleashed, he ponders if it is time for some more. "He needs to be kept on his toes..." Pincus whistles and ponts at Umbralheart's grappling foe. Krathoon stops, and charges full speed at the combatant, axe back and at the ready.(edited) MyakaToday at 6:25 PM Myaka moved and blocked the polearm with her own blade, locking the two in a standstill. She was already moving to use the locked blade as a way to hopefully pull the polearm free from Umbral's grip but the felguard stops her plan. She has to move her shield to block the axe though she tries to at least keep Umbral's blade locked in a stalemate. UmbralheartToday at 6:31 PM Umbral begins cackling again as the felguard intervenes, she pulls back from Myaka and follows Katelle and Aderlee into the obscure guild hall entrance. Vindicator JaelantiaToday at 7:49 PM From above the felguard's head came the sudden blow of a hammer - materialized from seemingly nothing, the Light formed the shape of a weapon to strike the new combatant and stun it where it stood. Jaelantia would soon be upon the felguard, eyes full of fury. MyakaToday at 7:58 PM Myaka nods at Jael before turning and moving after Umbral, she didn't want to leave Kate to be attacked since she'd be focused on the healer.
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  36. 1 point
    A wonder that the Nightborne joined the Horde, Kex'ti Dalendala thought to himself. Telemancy has certainly made getting around easier. He hated portal magic. It always left him nauseated for hours, and for a man of his size, it was a deeply unpleasant experience. The elf monk hobbled through the moor, his boots slick with grime. He could sense the chi of nothing living. But in Tirisfal Glades, dead rarely meant gone. Rarer still did it mean non-hostile. He'd run off the drink from the morning while he rode his raptor from Ratchet to the Crossroads. From there, a wyvern flew him to Orgrimmar, and from there, a portal to the Undercity had brought him to Lordaeron. The sky here always felt low to the ground. Nowhere else on Azeroth, even Northrend, had ever felt so oppressive. The way that fog and cobwebs mixed in the sparse pines did little to relieve the feeling of slow suffocation. He shuddered, and pulled his coat closer. He'd left his armor, or most of it, in the bank of Ratchet. Now, part of him wished he'd brought something, anything besides his stubbornness as protection along on the journey. He carried his staff and limped along with it in one hand, and cradled a small box in the crook of the other. He put his foot on a stone, and heard a voice rasp from the mist. "Not many quick out here, sin'dorei." With a smirk and a chuckle, Kex'ti locked eyes with the glowing yellows of the Forsaken. "Do not worry, friend. I promise that I will keep moving for some time to come." He'd expected a laugh, and received a grunt. Kex'ti took a deep breath of the rot that surrounded him. I suppose I am a slower learner than I would like in lowering my expectations, he thought. "I am here to visit a grave." "Why?" asked the graveguard. Now that he'd arrived, he found he'd never really considered that. This just felt like the right thing to do. "It felt like the right thing to do," he said. The guard lit a lantern. The graveyard flickered in the wan light as the oil spattered against the glass and iron cage. It wasn't nightfall yet, but that made little difference. The lantern was for his benefit, and it sufficed as permission. Kex'ti nodded to the guard, a Forsaken man in dark leathers, a deep hood, and with two wicked scimitars that hung on hooks from his belt. "Augustus Krowne?" The elf asked the undead. The guard moved. The soles of his boots whispered against the peaty soil. The grave was covered in growth. Kex'ti raised an eyebrow to the guard. The Forsaken responded by setting the lantern by the tombstone. "I'm a guard," he answered, "not a groundskeeper." Kex'ti nodded, and knelt. He had worn gloves, and buckled the magewoven coat closer. The wool in the coat would keep him warm, at least. His stomach growled. He knew he wouldn't be eating for a while, given the... Strong flavors preferred by the residents of Tirisfal. The monk removed his gloves, and laid them on the chest he'd carried along. He gripped the moss and branches wrapping the grave, and began to tear them loose. The guard stayed close, and offered no help. A blade would've made the process simple, but Kex'ti wanted to do this manually. He wanted to pull the roots loose, he wanted to work his skin raw, he wanted to feel the mists tingle and itch as he knit and tore and reknit the skin and blood on his hands as the thorns of the vine gnashed into his hands. Hands that had gripped reins of cloud serpents and nether rays. That reached out for people falling away. That had choked the life from a sin'dorei scout in the wrong place. That had maimed, crippled, and killed for sport, for justice, and in madness. Hands which had healed the wounded, that had caressed the skins of the few people he'd loved, and had gripped hands with his closest friends. He didn't want to feel that. He wanted to feel his hands hurt, he wanted to remember the pain of his pinky being bitten loose. He wanted to hurt. He just didn't want to be left alone with it. And who could listen like the dead? He wove the mists into his raw and sliced fingers and palms, channeling chi to the wounds, mending them, and feeling the burn as he stole the life from the bacteria that would try to thrive at his expense. A touch of gray leaked into the spiritual matter from the surrounding mist. The monk rolled his hands, feeling the joints crack. He coughed, but couldn't taste blood. That was good, at least. He reached over to the box, undid the latch, and pulled out a wineskin. He poured it over the grave, the firewater washing off his own blood, the dust of the years since the Wrathgate. "I am sorry, Aug. I know you were more of a wine or a beer guy," Kex'ti whispered in Thalassian. "I can, at least, try to speak your own tongue," Kex'ti said, in halting gutterspeak. He smiled. "Yeah, I know. You always used to say you were a poet before you were an alchemist, and that just happened to be the tongue they put in your mouth." Kex'ti sat into the dirt. The coat would be dirty. So what? He clipped his words, flowing between whatever he knew, whether Krowne would speak it or not. "I wonder if that was the excuse you used: someone put words in your mouth. Aug, I've had a bit of a trip since I dragged you out of that quagmire." "You were right there, but it was like you couldn't decide if you wanted to throw that vial at me, or Putress' defectors. I still don't know why you did that. I would've thought that our time together would've been enough to help you make your choice. Maybe I should've given you the chance. But I didn't want you to go on like that. I didn't want to die like that, and I didn't want your memory to just get...stained like that." "But I wonder, if you just let something go on, does that actually make it better? Did I save you a lot of suffering? Or did I deny you the chance to fix it?" "I think about that a lot. I did up until recently, anyway." "There's a woman. Not... That kind. A Forsaken. Her name is Syreena. She's one of those I can never figure out. For a long time, I'd hoped that patience, a stern hand, might lead her to a nobler path. I mean, I think that's how my life worked. Or how I thought it did. You pulled me out of Silvermoon. Remi helped me see a bigger picture. But... Without the two of you..." Kex'ti looked at his hands, the crisscrossed scars of years of fighting, and the scratches he'd tried to erase with mistweaving. "Have I ever really been my own person? Is that really what I've wanted? Before you, I always listened to mother and father, and they never really gave me much hope. You gave me a chance to do something different, but when I left to go out on my own, I wasn't even alone then. I was doing it for someone else." "Maybe I just make bad decisions when it involves myself." He glanced down to the firewater. "I had my last drink this morning. Or, at least last one for a while. I know what happens when I try and distract myself, whether it's with drugs, or a cause, or just combat. I make bad choices. I hurt people. And... I can't keep doing that. Nobody else deserves to live with that but me." Kex'ti looked up at the sky, or Krowne's presence above, or just to avoid looking at the tombstone. He turned back to find the guard gone, or lurking. What did it matter? The guard could attack him, report the story, or do nothing. Making a mess to be cleaned up later, Kex'ti went on with his monologue. "I ran away, again." "After the Wrathgate, I went to go be with Remiaan, at the Argent Tournament. She died, so I ran away. I went and found a place in the Twilight's Hammer. I can spare you those stories. It was... I may have been selfish in the Arena. I may have been heartbroken when I lost you. When I lost Rem. But what I did to dull that pain... That's what haunts me. That's what makes me wish I just wasn't... Alive, or aware, or whatever oblivion means." He smirked. "That's kind of the sick bit of it. I got exactly what I wanted, there. I didn't have to think about what I was doing. I didn't have to look behind the curtain. I was behind the curtain, and in the dark, you don't really care about it. When someone pulls the curtain aside, it's not what's hidden that you look in on that scars you. It's not what's lurking in the dark. It's that when someone lets the light in, you can see what you've actually been doing, when you've been just doing it blindly, or doing it without much fear." "The horrible thing is that the ignorance is what I miss most. It's not that the truths the Twilight's Hammer and Old Gods preach that burn the mind, or make you hopeless. It's just that when you're following along, they don't matter. You don't matter. You're just matter." He coughed and took a sip from his jug, unknotting a piece of twine he'd tied around it. Without Zhanhao's yao grass, he'd need to go back to Pandaria for it. The twine would remind him when he needed to restock. "That's what scares me most about the Void, I think. Is that knowledge that it's exactly what I wanted: to be nothing. To think nothing. To feel nothing. From nothing, you can be anything. Instead of a cripple. Instead of sick. Instead of a murderer. Instead of a coward." He rested a hand on the tombstone. "I'm sorry you're dead, August. I'm sorry I didn't make good on the life you gave me," he said. "I'm sorry I killed you. I'm sorry.... I didn't make good on either of our lives." Kex'ti rubbed his face. "After that... I just went back to Ratchet. That's where life got good for me, I think. Where we started winning fights. Where I stopped being just a sick kid in Silvermoon. I think that's why I'll always go back there, because it's where I can start over. I've gotten really good at starting over. It's not a fun skill to have." He told the grave about how he met Wei Xo. How he traveled to Pandaria, and made his medicine with the help of Yu-Ting. How he came down the mountain reborn as a mistweaver, and he met Baern Grimtotem, Tauranor, Billamong, and Rabbic Ohen in the Thunder-Pan company. How being an actual mercenary taught him to think as a member of a group, rather than just a small group. How he'd gone to Draenor in hopes of a second chance with Remiaan. How he'd ended up in Sanctuary instead. He smiled, and recounted stories of Vilmah, Cerryan, Nojinbu, and Baern, now Baern Ashtotem. "Those were the best years of my life, August. The time with you, then with Rem, those were great. But Sanctuary... I felt happy. Like I had purpose." He smiled, but his eyes clenched bittersweet. "I knew an orc woman. I saw a lot of myself in her. I hoped that I could help her, that I could push her off the path I'd walked, and spare her the suffering. But..." He coughed. "Sometimes I wonder if me being sick was a sign from the universe. That I'm so poisonous that I can't even live with myself. Sanctuary went to... I guess you'd call it a war. Against a corrupted ancient named Accalia. Twice, in fact. The first time, I had a nightmare. A long, long nightmare. And the thing that I remember is that it was drawn out from myself: It was my fears. My worries, my anxieties, put on display to torment me. I... I remember bits of it, now and then. But what I always remember is that, somewhere in it, I told myself that 'I'm poison.'" "I couldn't keep Shokkra from making the choices she makes. That are so close to the ones I've made, and are going to be just as destructive." "I fought against the Legion, the last year. I helped the victims of a place called Suramar. The elves there were similar to the Sin'dorei, but descended more directly from the kaldorei. I spent a little time on Argus, too, believe it or not." He gripped his hands together. "I met a woman. I fell in love. And, she gave me part of her life, to save me from my illness. There's a lot to love about her. But part of that love is... I destroyed Remi. I destroyed you, and I've destroyed myself and countless others. She made a choice, recently, that she would give trust to those who needed it. I think they're far from deserving it. I think they'll fail. I think they'll fall to madness and worse. But trust? They need that. I know I did. I failed to go where I wanted. But everyone gave me a chance to try." "She trusted them. But I never could. I... Never can. They associated with the Void, and that association was too tempting to ignore. And after everything, I can't make the same choices I've made. When she made that choice, I was angry. I still am, and I'm still hurt that... It felt like my pain was ignored. But pain passes. Pain can heal. It just won't heal in time to make a difference. But part of me has always known what her choices meant for me." "I never stopped loving her. I don't think I can, and I think it would be wrong to try. But that love means I'm not going to destroy her. I'm not going to poison anything else." "Once you acquire a taste for poison, it's a part of you. I might destroy myself, over, and over, and over again. But, this time, I won't drag anyone else into the Void with me."
  37. 1 point
    Tahzani ponders the question before answering, " Ah'll be honest. Ah don' know Kerala as well as ah feel ah should. She be one a de few druids who speaks plainly. Sure she got de wisdom of someone who ain't consumed by de petty desires of our societies but she says it flat out and in words jah can undahstand. She ain't even preachy about it!" He lets out a short laugh, " Ah tink ah should probably learn a few tings from her. When she talks, jah should listen."
  38. 1 point
    “Because you won't stop hurting us!” Juli cried. “You won't.. stop... we have.. to...” The entropic shadows were overcoming her. She staggered and fell to her knees again, and this time couldn't get up. Lilliana pushed herself up, still clutching Syreena like a broken ragdoll, and stared at Juli in amazement. “Freaking psycho hypocrite,” the priestess managed. She began to weave shadowmending around her leg, and Juli couldn't stop her. “Cerryan comes and tortures my friend as revenge... You attack me when you demand I step aside after we, together, save her, and expect me to allow you to kill her in front of me... and like totally break... oh shit what are your vows again? First one! Peace! I will not initiate hostilities!” Lilliana got to her feet, supporting herself mostly on her one good leg, and threw a fresh blast of shadow at Juli. Juli flinched as it struck her. “Second one! Justice! I will react with force only to defend the innocent, or in fair, consensual combat! Err okay maybe you didn't break number two... But you did break number three... Mercy! I will respond to hostility with the least force required!” Another blast followed. Juli gritted her teeth as it hit, her eyes watering with pain, and Lilly continued. “And Julilee... Sacrifice! I will forgive mistakes, insults, and injuries to me person for the sake of peace, justice, and mercy!” The final oath was partnered with another blast. Bracing herself on the greatsword, it was all Juli could do to keep herself upright. The Light from the sword had entirely faded away, dissipated absorbing all the shadow attacks. Without its warm glow, the pain Juli was under was nearly unbearable. Lilly paced around her, limping. “You and that jerk face Cerryan don't even follow your own rules! At least I follow my order's rules! But noooo, it's totally okay for you to play the eye for an eye game!” “You.. don't... understand... the vows!” Juli pulled the greatsword back and hurled it at the priestess. The sheer unexpectedness of the attack took Lilliana by surprise and it knocked her down again. Juli fought her way to her feet and started moving toward the door. Putting her fingers to her lips, she blew a shrill whistle. In response, a red-gold cloudserpent came swirling down from the overcast sky. Shou-Yana, the loyal companion Kex'ti had helped her tame, landed outside in the courtyard. Juli turned back as Lilliana started shouting. The priestess had left Syreena inside and come to chase Juli down. “I understand your stupid vows! I understand you don't freaking follow them! Don't run away from me...! We're not done! You haven't taught me a lesson yet!” Juli forced her broken arm to work as she grabbed her shield off her back and held it up to deflect the new spells Lilliana was flinging at her. “Our vows don't tie our hands, Lilliana,” she said through gritted teeth as she backed away. “It's not our job to keep turning the other cheek. We are allowed to fight back! We don't have to roll over and die because someone wants to kill us! I'm not going to let you, or Syreena, or any of the Grim hurt us. You did learn something today. We're not who you think we are. I'm not.” Turning, she reached Shou-Yana and grabbed onto the saddle with her good arm. She coughed, hacking up black blood, and leveled a stare at the advancing priestess. “Take Syreena and go. I can't beat you this time... but remember... I might try again.” “You might try again? Do it, I fucking dare you!” Lilliana shrieked. “Try to get me, you two-faced...” She inhaled and released a psychic scream again. Shou-Yana writhed in protest. And Juli simply stared Lilliana down, fury radiating off of her. She was not one to lose her temper. She would never rage incoherently like Lilliana was doing right now. But she was a warrior, and though she kept her rage tightly controlled, it was there. “Be wise, Lilliana,” she said lowly, “and consider it even.” “Don't try to backpedal!” Lilliana hollered. She started throwing spells at Juli's mount. Shou-Yana snorted, her reflective scales immune to most of the attacks, but backed away, and Juli let her go. “You know it's not even!” Lilliana yelled. “No, it's not,” Juli said angrily. She drew her blade, Mercy. Its jagged, glowing lines flared with a new light as Juli pointed it at the priestess. “It's not even. I've overlooked so much... but the Grim has gone too far, Lilliana! And even now I don't want to kill you!” She gave a bark of laughter, of all things. “You're just trying to protect her, that's why I'm holding back, even though if Syreena recovers she'll hurt me and mine again...” “Oh yeah, well I'm trying to kill you! I think Awatu will forgive me for like, totally disob—” Whatever Lilliana was about to say was cut off as Juli stepped forward and took a swing at her. The priestess flinched away and the sword only grazed her arm, but Juli followed through with a reversal, plowing the curved hilt into the priestess's stomach. At the same time, however, the spell Lilliana had been preparing was loosed, and it knocked Juli down, sending her rolling along the dirt a distance. Somehow, she managed to maintain her grip on her sword and shield until she came to a stop. Looking at Mercy, she realized it was glowing more than it usually did. Had the Light from Cerryan's sword transferred to it? Shaking her head, she pushed herself up and whistled for Shou-Yana. This time, she was able to pull herself astride the cloudserpent with her good arm before Lilliana caught up. Lilly's screams quickly grew distant as Juli rose into the sky. Despite the loss, Juli felt relieved. She had done her best to enact justice. If Lilliana thought she was a hypocrite didn't matter. The point had been made. And Lilliana, and the rest of the Grim, would look a them with a lot more wariness from this point forward. The glow on Mercy had faded by the time she landed in Dalaran.
  39. 1 point
    Lilliana’s head snapped up. She heard the quiet resolution in Juli’s voice, and her blue eyes blazed with immediate anger, all suspicions confirmed. “Why, Julilee?” she asked. Juli pointed the sword, Cerryan’s greatsword, at the priestess. It still glowed with the power Cerryan had infused it with, arcs of Light moving along its blade. “Step back, Lilliana,” she said again. “I can’t let you heal her. She didn’t deserve to suffer, but she doesn’t deserve to live, either.” Lilliana’s gaze trailed over the sword and moved back to Juli. “Get the fuck out of my face before I kill both you AND Cerryan… and then sic the rest of the Grim on your guild. You are not the Horde’s police,” she responded icily. Protectively, she put a hand on Syreena’s burned chest. In most of their fights, those in play and some in slightly more earnest, Juli had defeated Lilliana handily. But Lilliana had never honestly tried to kill her, barring Aerie Peak where both had been in groups with others. And Juli’s shield shoulder was injured, making it impossible for her to use her arms of choice. She held Cerryan’s greatsword, an unfamiliar weapon, but it wasn’t as hard to wield as she would have assumed it would be. She felt clear; resolute. “I will ask you one last time, Lilliana. Syreena tried to murder one of my own. If she is allowed to live, she will try again.” Juli raised the sword slightly. “I have no other option. If I did, I would take it. You can’t offer one, either. Step back.” “Oh yes, Julilee, I can offer options,” Lilliana said. Her childish voice had gone dead cold. “The option is, either you drop that sword and leave me and Syreena in peace… Or I make you drop it and I help you fucking find peace.” The words came out in a hiss. “As I said, you and your stupid guild are not the Horde police. Syreena goes back with me.” “What I am is a bringer of justice,” Juli said, and stepped forward to slice at the priestess with the greatsword. It was a calculated move, not overextending herself as she tested her ability to wield the blade, but it had strength behind it; no mere feint. It forced the priestess to scramble back, but Lilliana had grabbed onto Syreena and dragged her with her. “Julilee! I’m fucking serious! Go the fuck away!” Lilliana yelled. “You’re no bringer of justice… You’re just as bad as the Grim, and you know it!” She wrapped an arm around Syreena’s midsection and backpedaled as Juli moved on her. The words may as well have fallen on deaf ears. Even if what Lilliana thought wasn’t immaterial to her, Juli knew the priestess would say anything to try to achieve the effect she wanted; that she was willing to call her own guild bad just illustrated that fact. She aimed a low sweep to try to trip Lilliana up, and caught a glancing hit as the priestess tried to hold Syreena away from the strike. A shield of Light glimmered into existence around Lilliana in the next moment as she continued to back away, deeper into the barracks. “You’re a fucking hypocrite!” Lilliana said. “Are you seriously doing this right now? You let Cerryan do this and you speak of justice? He is so fucking dying… I’m going to make him into a drooling vegetable and leave him outside the Legion’s gates—” Juli concentrated on getting through Lilliana’s guard. She made a feint to the side that turned into a thrust. The commitment behind the strike was enough to have run Lilliana through if allowed to hit unprotected. She was not pulling her blows. The shock on Lilliana’s face when she felt the force of the blow bounce off the shield, weakening the barrier, meant she realized it. “Julilee, please don’t do this shit…” Her tone changed to begging, desperately. “Please… Not with me… Don’t!” “Then surrender Syreena and I’ll let you leave,” Juli responded implacably. She shifted her grip on the greatsword as she circled to cut Lilliana off from the exit. The Light that arced around the sword’s blade had moved into the hilt, coalescing around her hands. Somehow, Juli was able to sense that despite her pleas, Lilliana was reaching for the shadows. In the next moment, they returned to the priestess with an unearthly hiss, and the moment after that, the priestess loosed a blast aimed directly at Juli’s injured shoulder. Juli’s first instinct was to raise her shield to counter it, and having to readjust her instincts cost her. She tried to dodge but the blast still caught her with most of its force, spinning her and nearly knocking her down. She turned the momentum into a vault, completing the turn and lunging at Lilliana, the sword trailing behind her as she shoulder-checked the priestess with her good shoulder. As they collided, Lilliana loosed a piercing scream, one that burrowed into the deepest recesses of the mind and sent any enemy with a mind fleeing in blind panic. It was also a trick Lilliana had tried to use against Juli many times in their duels. Juli staggered but threw off the effect in mere moments. Letting go of the greatsword with one hand, she pummeled the priestess in the midsection to try to forestall the dark magics she sensed forthcoming, but they were loosed instantly nonetheless. A creeping shadow settled into the warrior, beginning to eat away at her strength and leaving behind considerable pain as it did. Her shoulder flared in renewed agony that she hadn’t noticed easing. Grasping the greatsword again, she took half a step back to bring up the sword between them in an upward slash. Lilliana, still burdened with the slight figure of the rogue in one arm at her side, took the slash shallowly up her stomach and chest. She screamed again, this time in pure anger, and released a serous of blasts with no pause in between. All three struck Juli, driving her back a good distance. Juli didn’t realize that the Light from the sword had crept all the way up to her shoulders. Her resolution kept her unfaltering. There was no other choice but this. As she charged forward to close the distance between them again, Lilliana had the few moments she needed to conjure up her shadowfiend. It launched itself for Juli’s bad shoulder, and though Juli twisted to try to slice the thing down, she was not fast enough with the heavier weapon to intercept it, and it latched on. She let go of the sword with one hand again to try to grab the thing and pull it off, but her hand passed right through its incorporeal form. Meanwhile, Lilliana was taking the time to work shadowmending on herself. Ignoring the shadowfiend for now, Juli set her sword and charged again. The shadows around Lilliana darkened into pure void. It was something Juli had never seen Lilliana do before. The blasts the priestess loosed were merciless and forced Juli to stop and raise the sword to put it between herself and the blasts. It seemed to buffer the impact somewhat, though the darkness still tore at Juli, so hard it forced her down to a knee. She grimaced in pain. “Lilliana,” she said between blasts, “Syreena tried to kill Kanda… the orphan she helped raise. Just for… joining Sanctuary. I can’t let her live.. and… be successful next time.” She pushed herself to her feet with an effort under the deluge of shadow. “You’d do the same in my position.” “Shokkra tried to kill Khorvis just to be an ass!” Lilliana screamed. She sounded nearly unhinged with anger, punctuating every sentence with another blast that pounded Juli remorselessly. “Your fucking ambassador… so fuck you! You and Sanctuary are not our police… You are not the judges… This is revenge and murder at this point… Maybe I’ll be the guilty one instead… Although at this point it’s kind of self defense! And WHY THE FUCK DID YOU CALL ME HERE ANYWAY?” “If I wanted revenge I would have left her here!” Juli shouted, fury overcoming her steely resolution. She swung heedlessly to parry a blast of shadow, the Light from the sword deflecting it, and began to advance, parrying Lilliana’s attacks. “I would have asked Kex’ti to help me instead of you!” She parried another blast, though her shoulder cried in agony. She didn’t know how she was even carrying on at this point. Strength suffused her. “I called you because I won’t hide… I won’t compromise… I can be PUSHED TOO FAR… and you and the Grim NEED TO SEE THAT!” “You brought me here to teach me a lesson?!” Lilliana said incredulously. Juli swung and struck the priestess with the flat of the blade in one knee. The crunching sound promised an injury as bad as her shoulder had been. Lilliana fell hard to the floor.
  40. 1 point
    Lilliana's curiosity, of course, got the better of her, like Juli knew it would. When the red-haired priestess arrived, spiraling down on her hippogryph to a landing, the look she gave Juli was not one of someone who was going to be easily duped. The questions Lilliana had peppered her with after getting the call had received only the most vague answers, and Juli intended to give nothing more away now than she had to. All she said in greeting was, “Lilliana. We need to get in there.” She indicated the barracks, guarded by the tall construct. “Yeah?” Lilliana rolled her shoulders and eyed the construct lazily, acting entirely unconcerned despite her discerning eye. “Why ain't you asking one of your own? 'Cause like... I might mind control that thing...” She pointed at the construct. “...to eat you or something.” She giggled. “You know me, always such a danger to all that's Sanctuary. How's your head, by the way?” Juli utterly ignored the taunt, considering she had thoroughly humiliated Lilliana several times since the incident she was referring to, and taunting was all the priestess could do. “I don't think it has a mind to be controlled, it's a construct. And–” She hesitated for a moment. “No one else who could help was available, and it's something in your best interest. There's no time to waste. Let's do this.” She drew her sword and shield. Mercy, the sword Kex'ti had given her, glowed with bright, jagged lines in the gloom of the Ghostlands. “Are you with me?” Lilliana's guard went up more obviously as she eyed Juli with open suspicion. “My best interest?” She didn't move. “Tell me what's in it for me. Then I'll help your self-righteous ass.” She grinned. Juli looked at Lilliana, evaluating. Then she said, “Syreena is in there.” She counted on Lilliana knowing she wouldn't lie. Lilliana might think Juli was crazy at times, but Juli had never been deceitful. And Lilliana tensed immediately. “What the frack? You lock her up in there like you did with Lupinum and I... But like now the construct thing is out of your control or something and Syreena is like done being grounded by you poopheads?” She started moving toward the construct as she spoke, drawing shadows to flicker about her body with a vicious, dark hiss. “Don't jump to conclusions,” Juli said coolly. “I asked for you to come here. Syreena's presence here has nothing to do with me.” She couldn't keep the edge from her voice at that. “Let's go.” “Wait... What?!” Lilliana looked from Juli to the entrance to the barracks. She was trying to reach Syreena via mind magic, and couldn't. But Juli was done trying to convince the priestess to get on board, and was closing the distance between herself and the construct. She slammed her shield into its side and swung her sword at the arm that immediately reached toward her. Like she anticipated, Lilliana's battle instincts kicked in and she was with Juli in the next moment, weaving shadows to strike at the construct and knock its reaching arm away. Juli's strike cut into its torso, but it quickly forced her back with a downward-aimed punch she had to dodge and aimed a blast of arcane power at Lilliana. The blast caught Lilliana in the side as she was briefly distracted watching Juli dodge the punch. “Ow! Rude!!” the priestess hollered. With a gesture, she pulled a fiend from the shadows and sent it after the construct. The construct parried another slice from Juli, then turned to try to make a sweeping strike at the shadowfiend. Juli got in a good chop to its back, making it stagger, though it managed to stomp and scatter the fiend into bits of shadow that dissipated. In retaliation, it turned, its torso rotating more than Juli had counted on, to deliver a horizontal blow to her shield-arm shoulder before she could pull back and raise her shield in time to block. The force of it drove to to the ground, though she kept one leg under her. It started raining blows on her that she hefted her shield despite her broken shoulder to catch, and a shield of Light shone around her to help, a token courtesy of the priestess. Gritting her teeth, Juli thrust up inside its guard into its internals as Lilliana blasted it with shadow. “Error,” it announced, as it continued pounding on her. “Critical damage suffered. Emergency recovery systems will activate in ten seconds.” “Finish it, quickly!” Juli said, pushing herself to her feet under the onslaught. “I'm trying!” Lilliana whined. Shadowy apparitions drifted in with deceptive languidity, eroding the thing as they came to it. Juli dodged another attack and started to circle it, looking for a way to stun it, but it stayed with her. Then the flimsy bubble of Light around Juli expired. “Weak point analyzed,” the thing said, and it leveled a two-handed blow at her left side. Juli was forced to catch it on her shield with her injured shoulder. The pain was intense and she couldn't raise her shield again as it lifted its arms for a killing blow. Its core began to power up with regenerative energy. A devastatingly deathly blast of shadow struck it from behind. It stayed frozen where it was for a moment, looming over Juli, but then began to slowly topple over. “System... failure...” it ground out before crashing to the earth. Juli got out of the way just in time. There was an unearthly, hissing sigh as the shadows around Lilliana vanished again. The priestess didn't stop to check on Juli as she vaulted over the fallen construct and entered the barracks, looking around frantically. Juli followed, grimacing as she sheathed her sword and slowly took her shield with her other hand to place it on her back. She stopped short when she saw the scene within, just as Lilliana went, “Oh fuuuuuuuuck...” The flickering light Juli had noticed earlier proved to be coming from a sword. Cerryan's greatsword, in fact. It pinned Syreena to the wall like an insect, the Light arcing from it illuminating Syreena's charred figure. It didn't seem the rogue could still be alive, but that the Light still attacked her. It was probably keeping her alive even as it burned her. Juli realized she had muttered an oath under her breath, though more of the Light was certainly not what was needed here. Lilliana reached toward her fellow guildmember but pulled back, knowing she lacked the strength to pull the weapon free from how deeply it had been buried in the wall. She turned to Juli. “Julilee, get it out! Please please please!” she begged frantically. To think Cerryan had done this, had created this sickening sight, and felt nothing but satisfaction. Juli moved forward and grasped the hilt of the sword. “Hold her,” she said to Lilliana, and Lilly did. With a heave, Juli pulled the sword out of the wall and Syreena both. The priestess caught Syreena and lowered her to the ground, desperately checking for signs of life, or unlife as it were. She glanced up once at Juli and her eyes narrowed. Juli felt the brush on her mind and realized too late that Lilliana had picked up the thoughts of Cerryan from the surface level of her mind. But the priestess just turned back to Syreena, beginning to weave the shadows into mending – knowing that more Light would certainly not help the Forsaken rogue. Juli watched, holding the greatsword, and slowly began to realize something. To allow Syreena to be nursed back to health was ensuring the rogue would go on to hurt more people. Juli knew it; she had thrown as much in Kex'ti's face for freeing Syreena from Alliance prison. But the damage that had been done to Syreena was appalling, and sickened her to her stomach. And that was the heart of the matter. Syreena had deserved to die, but not to suffer. That was why what Cerryan had done was wrong. And even if Kex'ti had found Syreena, and had enacted the “permanent solution” he had spoken of so ominously without making her suffer first, his reasons wouldn't have been completely right either. Because he, like Cerryan, would have taken satisfaction from it. That was why Juli hadn't been able to ask him, or anyone else in Sanctuary, for help. She didn't know who she could trust to do this. Besides herself. “Step back, Lilliana,” she said quietly
  41. 1 point
    Bits of conversations replayed in her mind. Heard again and again, they made Juli start to question things about which she'd been so sure. The drumming hoofbeats of her zhevra as she crossed the bridge into the Ghostlands couldn't drown out the inner dialogue. She urged it a little faster, though she couldn't risk an all-out gallop. If the horse foundered, then it would take even longer to get there, and if it wasn't too late already, even mere minutes could make the difference between life and death; so she had to make the measured choice. The measured choice. The reasonable, thoughtful one, where she considered all possible consequences, even those distant or hard to foresee, and made the best choice she could. That was what she did. Those who saw her as reticent to act would surely hesitate to move as rashly as they advocated if they found themselves the ones with the weight on their shoulders. Wouldn't they? “When we cut down enemies of the Horde, of Azeroth itself with every campaign, how can we stay our blades to a threat that is every bit as dangerous?” Cerryan had said something about Kanda, but Juli hadn't understood, and hadn't sought clarification. The truth was, she hadn't wanted to know that that line had been crossed. Syreena had been a dangerous nuisance, one Juli knew full well never to turn her back to, but before Kanda, Syreena had tread cautiously. Juli knew Kex'ti could bring her back into line if need be, and knew Syreena knew it too. “I had assumed you meant a permanent solution.” Juli had been sure that when she sent Kex'ti after Syreena after hearing about the attack on Sen'ahri that Kex'ti would teach Syreena a lesson, nothing more. Without admitting as much, even to herself, she'd thought the worst Kex'ti would do was take the Grim rogue's other ear, despite how dire Kex'ti had sounded. Surely with her words echoing in his head, he'd come to moderate his actions in the end. Instead, he had only been saved from responsibility for the act because Cerryan had moved instead. “This lunacy has gone on long enough. The hope I had... Was for nothing.” “That's not good enough, Julilee. 'Sometimes we can't do what is just because the world isn't that kind of place' is not GOOD enough!” “Sanctuary will burn.” That last was what she had said. If nothing else, it didn't matter even if Syreena really did deserve such a fate. One Sanctuary member attacking members of the Horde, they'd been fortunate to have the Warchief overlook. By bringing Saphiara to justice, Sanctuary had sufficiently distanced itself from her principles and actions. But two would destroy them. What little claim they had to loyalty to the Horde would become utterly unbelievable to public opinion, and mob mentality would tip against them. But what if she was just being paranoid? Yes, Sanctuary had been burned to the ground under Garrosh's reign. Yes, Sanctuary was, and always had been, viewed with suspicion for their interest in peace with those who were otherwise enemies. But the Horde cared about strength. Often, might made right. By turning the other cheek, were they making the distrust self-fulfilling? Many would respect Cerryan for what he did. They respected Kex'ti for his uses of strength. The willingness to take matters into one's own hand was often seen as a virtue. There was the fact that the Grim simply outmanned them. This wouldn't be the first time Juli had steered clear of antagonizing the Grim simply because they could not afford to with their smaller and often weaker numbers. The Horde respecting might was undeniable in the latitude the Grim had to conduct their questionable affairs. Multiple Warchiefs who had expressed interest in peace with the Alliance had not acted to defang the Grim. With Sanctuary's weaker political position as well, the Grim could act against Sanctuary so long as it had the thinnest veneer of justification, and come out well enough in the end. Maybe they wouldn't risk it; but Juli couldn't afford to give them the excuse. Not with every life in Sanctuary resting on it. Even if it was a slim chance that the Grim would choose to act, it simply wasn't worth taking. Wasn't it? Was she making the considered choice, or just finding excuses to avoid making the call? It seemed every argument started with the assumption that the only options were do nothing and be destroyed, or utterly annihilate your enemy. Those who advocated something more like the latter always assumed that when Juli refused she was espousing the former. She wanted to say she didn't, but then why did she never offer a counter proposal? Why did she focus her efforts on simply saying they were wrong instead of arguing for a different path? Maybe they never asked, but maybe she had always been counting on that. The voices multiplied as the zhevra bore her through the misty paths. Some were things that people had actually said to her, others she couldn't help but imagine them saying. “There is no sacrifice in taking punishment for nothing.” “It is no worse than what she would do. Has done.” “Finish the job. Any other outcome is going to lead to WAR.” “It was consensual combat. She showed up voluntarily.” It was a clamorous chorus with a theme that reached all the way back to Naheal, Faelenor, Kargron, Jinsai, Saphiara. Every argument beat at her resolve and not all of them she could counter. It was true Syreena had attacked and nearly killed Kanda. It was true Syreena had willingly accepted Cerryan's challenge. Juli would lay odds half of Sanctuary would believe Cerryan had done nothing wrong. Maybe more than half. But inside, her soul protested. It was wrong, what Cerryan had done, what Kex'ti had wanted to do. It was just wrong. It just was. It had to be. Because otherwise, deep down, she had no reason not to agree except being coward. The old Farstrider barracks came into sight over the hill, and Juli reined in the zhevra. The mount was still pacing to a stop as she slid from the saddle, drawing her sword and shield and moving forward. Over twice her height, the construct loomed in the doorway. She didn't hesitate as it reared up, activating at her presence, and her sword chopped into its ivory arm before it had finished its motion. It swung, dislodging her blade and forcing her back. “Trespassers will be eliminated,” it announced. Behind it, something glowed within the dilapidated barracks. Juli focused on the fight. The construct had the advantage of the doorway, meaning she could only come at it from one angle. It began charging up energy, and she darted at it again, slamming her shield into its knee. She was unsuccessful in bringing it off balance, and barely dodged the energy beam it released. “Repairing,” it stated, and arcane energy flowed to the points she had struck, reinforcing them. The one exchange, over in seconds, was all it took for Juli to calculate that she would not be able to get past it. She stepped back, out of range, and it remained in alert mode, standing guard in its position. It only took her a moment to decide what to do next. Even as self-doubt plagued her mind, she didn't waver from the path she had chosen. Maybe that, too, was just a sign of cowardice, but it remained to be seen what would happen in the end. Before anything else, she had to see for herself what lay beyond the construct. She spoke into her hearthstone. “Lilliana,” she said, “I need your help.”
  42. 1 point
    Breygrah does not try containing her smile when asked about Kerala. "She is one you can rely on, when her word is given. She can be gruff, and stern. But we all need that from time to time. I only wish I could have been reliable to her as she was to me." She pauses a moment, and pats a hand on the tabard she wears. "I do truly hope that I could have her support." She does not explain what she means before smiling politely and going on her way.
  43. 1 point
    "Too skinny," Xara comments. "Every time I see her, I want ta feed her! But there are some people out there who don't want people takin' care of 'em... They think it makes 'em vulnerable, they're scared, they don't wanna get hurt." The trolless is quiet for a moment, then shrugs. "Some wild animals can't be tamed."
  44. 1 point
    "Whatever strange paths we may walk in life, Kerala always seems to find her way across mine, to my great joy. I do not claim to understand the tauren, but she is my friend, and I believe that she has some great destiny in store. What, and how I might serve in guiding her towards it, I do not know. I am not an augur. But Kerala approaches her challenges with a wisdom and ferocity that few can match."
  45. 1 point
    "For a long time, I hated Kerala. A lot. I resented her because joining The Grim was so important to me, and for her it was a cross to bear. A debt to pay. She complained bitterly, if not in words then in actions. And the worst of it, in my mind, was how easily she made friends. The more she dug in her heels and showed her resentment, the more people flocked to her. At the same time, I was fighting tooth and nail for my place in the guild. And for the most part, I was disregarded at best, or discriminated against, most commonly. So, I hated her, and I wanted her to fail. But eventually.. things began to change. It started with the night when she completed her first trial of eating all the Alliance hearts. I didn't think she would do it, or I thought she'd find a way to cheat or deceive us. But she didn't. Not only did she complete that task more thoroughly than I ever thought she would, but she owned it. She gained my respect that night, and from there I started to like her. I saw a lot of myself in her, in ways that no one would ever understand even if I tried to explain. So I wont. That last night when she was to complete her third and final trial, the others didn't understand her. They couldn't see what she was trying to say, because she wasn't finding the right words. She tore off Konro's tabard and burned it. The others thought she was insulting The Grim, but I knew her act was symbolic. Burning that tabard wasn't about The Grim- it was about her debt. I was sad when Awatu threw her into the fire and drove her away. He banished her from the guild, but she still comes around. I see her, but I don't say anything. I'm glad she's still alive." -Shaelie
  46. 1 point
    Syreena frowns when asked about Kerala. "I'm still not sure what to think of her. She has silly notions of honor that I can't understand. She offered herself to Awatu as a Supplicant because of some ancient Tauren honor thing, but she's planning to leave us again after only a couple months. She squashed my head once, but I don't really remember it very clearly." After a pause, Syreena adds, "Also, she's so skinny! She looks like she never eats!"
  47. 1 point
    Oi, Ker?" Cobrak cocks an eyebrow as he puffs his pipe. "Aye, she's got brass ta do wut she did...now iffin she 'ad tha brains ta see it through wiffout so much damn trouble is anutha thing." The hunter chuckles, "Still want a pic of Syr's face when she first found out bout her joinin' Grim."
  48. 1 point
    "Ah, Kerala..." the mistweaver ponders. "I respect her for her actions...but I worry immensely for the road she walks. It would be a waste for her talents to fall to petty butchery."
  49. 1 point
  50. 1 point
    ((Kerala needs to remember....all is fair in love and war. There is no such thing as cheating))